Jeff Gordon hits significant milestone at Pocono: has led over 24,000 laps in Cup career

Leave a comment

As if he wasn’t there already by virtue of his four Sprint Cup championships and 90 career wins, Jeff Gordon moved into some very lofty company in Sunday’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.

On the eve of his 43rd birthday (Monday, Aug. 4), Gordon passed a rather significant milestone of leading 24,000 laps in his 22-season Sprint Cup career.

Gordon is now only the sixth driver in the 65-year history of NASCAR’s premier racing series to hit 24,000 laps led, and the first one to achieve that milestone since the late Dale Earnhardt hit 24,000 in 1996.

Richard Petty leads all drivers with 51,380 laps led, followed by Cale Yarborough (31,556), Bobby Allison (27,551), Earnhardt (25,684) and David Pearson (25,294).

By comparison, Jimmie Johnson, who has won six of the last eight Sprint Cup championships, has led only 16,849 laps in his career.

Leaving Pocono, Gordon has now led 24,012 laps in his career. For those of you doing the math, he now needs 1,283 more laps to pass Pearson for fifth on the all-time laps led list.

What’s more, Gordon is just three laps away from equaling the number of laps he led in 2013 (434 laps), 137 away from his total of 568 in 2012 and 491 laps away from his total of 922 in 2011.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski