Make your own free website on

JGG Home

Pontiac Excitement 400 - Richmond Intl. Raceway

Jeff Gordon's last win of the 2000 season came at this 3/4 mile short track in Virginia. It's now 2001, and the Winston Cup stars are returning for the first time this season. On a hot, humid day, Jeff Gordon drove the DuPont Chevy to a 6th place starting spot. Gordon's time of 21.781 seconds (123.9613 mph) was just a little more than one tenth of a second slower than pole-winner Mark Martin's lap. Rusty Wallace, last weeks winner, and winner of most Richmond races among active drivers, will start on the outside of the front row. Ricky Rudd, Steve Park, and Jimmy Spencer round out the top five.

Short track tempers flared after a mad two lap dash to the finish on Saturday night at Richmond. Eight laps from the end, Dave Blaney cut a tire down going into turn three, and the car banged the wall and came to rest in turn four. Jeff Gordon had passed Rusty Wallace for second place just a few laps earlier, but didn't have a chance of catching Tony Stewart, who had a 2.5 second advantage. However, NASCAR decided to throw the red flag so that the race could finish under green, and that changed everything.

With 7 laps to go, the drivers parked their cars, as Blaney refired his machine and headed to pit road. A few teams were going to just make it on fuel, and because of the red flag period, ran out of gas. Winston Cup Points leader Dale Jarrett was the driver for one of these teams. He had to be helped to the pits by a push truck as the rest of the field lined up to restart. He would finish in 15th, the last car on the lead lap.

Tony Stewart led them to the green flag with only two laps to go, Gordon was in second, and Wallace was in third. As the drivers mashed the gas on the restart, Gordon appeared to spin the rear wheels. Wallace got the jump on him and passed him going into turn one, banging sheet metal and forcing high on the race track. Gordon fought back to keep the second spot, but there wasn't enough time to get past Stewart.

On the cool down lap, Gordon and Wallace pulled up beside each other and exchanged some words and gestures. The tempers carried onto pit road, as the drivers continued to argue after exiting their cars.

"I don't (expletive) hit you on purpose," Wallace said.

"Rusty, you drove straight into me," replied Gordon.

"I couldn't stop the goddamn thing," Wallace said.

Gordon: "You don't go underneath me like that when you know you're not going to be able to stop."

Wallace: "Don't brake check any more. These are the guys that are fixing the cars. We don't need to be (expletive) them up on them."

Gordon: "Hey, I had a shot at winning."

Wallace: "You did not. You weren't even close, man."

(Editor's note: Just like the incident with Tony Stewart last year at Watkin's Glen, Gordon NEVER swore at Rusty Wallace. It just goes to show...)

After the interaction between the two drivers, things cooled down quite a bit, and Jeff and Rusty were even seen shaking hands and laughing outside the media center.

"He body-slammed me pretty hard there in the last corner," Gordon said of the incident with Wallace with two laps to go. "It was just racing but I was a little mad at him. I thought it was a little uncalled for. He got a good restart and he got underneath me, but there's no reason to slam me all the way up to the other lane."

Saturday night was Gordon's second consecutive second-place finish and he moved to within 14 points of series points leader Dale Jarrett (1,559-1,545).

Next week is an off week for the Winston Cup drivers to celebrate Mother's Day. However, things heat up on May 19th for The Winston, an All-Star shootout under the lights of Lowe's Motor Speedway.


Search JGG: