Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gordon 2 for 2 after Winning at Rockingham

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gordon 2 for 2 after Winning at Rockingham

Article excerpt

Right now, The Kid can do no wrong.

Jeff Gordon passed Dale Jarrett with 43 laps to go and ran off to an easy victory Sunday in the Goodwrench Service 400 in Rockingham, N.C. The victory gave him wins in the first two races of the 1997 season and in five of the past nine NASCAR Winston Cup events.

Jarrett looked nearly invincible through the first 350 laps of the 393-lap event on North Carolina Motor Speedway's 1.017-mile oval. He led 323 of those laps, and his Robert Yates Racing Ford appeared to have everybody covered, including Daytona 500 winner Gordon. But Gordon, 25, driving a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, stayed among the top five throughout the race and finally, on lap 350, began to challenge Jarrett. Gordon, using the high lane on the banked oval, got the nose of his multihued No. 24 ahead of Jarrett's No. 88 on lap 351 and began to pull away. The Kid, who now owns 21 career victories in just over four full seasons of Winston Cup racing, drove off to a 2.43-second win - beating Jarrett to the finish line by a quarter of a straightaway. "It may have looked like we had it planned like that, but, trust me, we didn't," said Gordon, who never led before lap 351. "I was fighting every lap to get to Dale and see what we had for him. "We only made minor changes all day, but our groove came in or something happened at the end. We sure weren't the fastest car all day. We just kept tuning on it and tuning on it. "Refuse to lose, that's our motto on this team, and it worked today." Jarrett now has finished second at Rockingham in three consecutive Winston Cup events and two Busch Grand National races in a row. "We've got second covered," the downcast Jarrett said. "We just can't get to Victory Lane. "You've got to give Jeff and his guys credit. They did a great job at the end getting the car right. We thought we were in good shape, so we didn't make any adjustments (on the last pit stop). We thought the car was awesome. …

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