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Rejuvenated Gordon gets 85th NASCAR win

September 7, 2011

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— Jeff Gordon was sliding all over the track those final 10 laps, doing everything he could to hold off five-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson.

It was a thrilling display by two of the sport’s biggest stars, who drove the high-banked Atlanta Motor Speedway like it was nothing more than a little dirt track.

When Gordon held on at the end Tuesday, taking the checkered flag for his third win of the year and 85th of his career, there was little doubt he’ll be making a serious run at his fifth Cup title.

Ohhhh, we can’t wait for these two to go at it again in the Chase for the championship.

“I’ve been trying to step it up for 10 years,” Gordon said, referring to the decade he’s gone since the last of his four titles, a period when he ceded dominance to his teammate Johnson.

But the driver of the No. 24 car isn’t ready to fade away just yet. Spurred on by a new crew chief, Gordon is going through a career renaissance at age 40, already winning more races this season than he did the last three years combined.

With his win in the rain-delayed AdvoCare 500, Gordon snapped a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third on the career victory list. Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105) are the only drivers in Cup history with more wins than Gordon.

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