Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Clash Lacked Flash, and Even ARCA Stalled, Leaving DIS with ... Waves of Boredom Gordon Runs Away with Busch Clash

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Clash Lacked Flash, and Even ARCA Stalled, Leaving DIS with ... Waves of Boredom Gordon Runs Away with Busch Clash

Article excerpt

DAYTONA BEACH -- Looking a lot like the leader of a 14-car,

185-mph funeral procession, Jeff Gordon drove his Chevrolet

Monte Carlo to victory in yesterday's 19th running of the Busch

Clash.

Failing to live up to its billing as a 20-lap dash for cash

among Winston Cup pole winners, Gordon made the day's lone lead

change stand up for a victory worth $54,000. It was Gordon's

second Busch Clash victory in four appearances.

"I know from where I was sitting it wasn't very exciting,"

Gordon said, after leading the final nine laps. "But we won and

that made it exciting for us."

Finishing 12th in the first 10-lap segment, Gordon started

third as the field was inverted for the second 10-lap segment.

It took the '95 Winston Cup champion and '94 Clash winner less

than two laps around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway

tri-oval to pass second-segment pole-sitter Bobby Labonte.

Moving up from 12th to third on the first lap of the second

segment, runner-up Rusty Wallace provided the only real

excitement in the second-slowest Clash ever.

"I just saw a hole and had to go for it," said Wallace, who

finished third in the first segment and pocketed $47,500 for

just over 16 minutes of racing. "I just couldn't get enough

cars behind to push me quick enough to pass [Gordon]."

Considering the difficulty passing, a byproduct of NASCAR's

rule changes aimed at slowing speeds and leveling the playing

field, Gordon's .130-second margin of victory may as well have

been 130 car lengths.

"I was just sitting there. . . . nobody could do nothing," said

six-time Clash champion Dale Earnhardt, who finished third.

"It's IndyCar racing, nose-to-tail. It's pitiful you can't pull

out and pass anyone."

Making what proved to be the decisive move of the day, Gordon

opted to stay in the back of the pack for the first segment

after realizing he couldn't move his way to the front.

"I didn't lay back on purpose," Gordon said. "I took off and it

just wouldn't go, so I stayed back there anyway. Those guys up

front just checked out early. …

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