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nascartop50

Pepsi 400 - Michigan Intl. Speedway

One year ago:
Gordon finished worse than 20th for the third weekend in a row, after getting involved in someone else's accident.
2000 Pepsi 400

-Qualifying
Not quite as good as his qualifying effort earlier in the year at MIS - Gordon will start 13th.

-Race
Jeff Gordon extended his Winston Cup Series points lead big-time on Sunday afternoon in the rain delayed. Gordon started 11th - ahead of his earned position of 13th because of two Happy Hour accidents.

The start was waved off because of light sprinkles of rain around the race track. However, once they got going the #24 Du Pont Monte Carlo was just not handling quite right, due largely to the downpour of rain the night before that washed all the rubber off the track.

Ricky Rudd, second to Jeff in the points standings, led 50 laps early in the race and looked to be the dominant car until his motor went south and then blew up.

"I don't think we can beat Gordon in the points unless he has some trouble," said Rudd afterwards. "I don't think anybody's gonna beat him."

The race was slowed and then stopped for about an hour and forty-five minutes for rain. Gordon had worked his way up as high as 7th, but was 8th when the rain delay came out. The cars ran some more laps until the caution came out for Rudd's blown engine.

Pit stops were now the name of the game, and many teams opted to gamble that the race would not run its full length, so they took two tires. The #24 team decided four were the way to go, but the decision caused them to lose some track position.

Shortly after they went back to green, Dale Jarrett cut a tire down and brushed the wall in turn four. Bad day for the Yates boys.

Gordon would eventually work his way back up to seventh, and remain there when the caution came out for rain and the race was eventually shortened. Sterling Marlin gained the first win for Dodge, and was the first of three Dodges to finish in the top ten.

“We had a pretty good car in clean air, but we could just never get it,” he said. “When you're back there, the cars just don't drive. You're all over the place. And then as soon as you get in clean air, the car's pretty good.

“It was a good day for us,” Gordon said. “That's what we need to do. When it comes to the championship, it wasn't a day we were looking for in order to win, but it was what we were looking for toward (winning) the championship."

Because of Rudd's and Jarrett's mishaps, Jeff's nearest pursuer in the points standings is still Ricky Rudd. However, Rudd is almost 300 points behind with 13 races remaining in the 2001 season.

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