Jeff Gordon is now just 3 top-10 finishes from tying Mark Martin for second on all-time list


Jeff Gordon can be referred to as a number of things:

* A four-time Sprint Cup champion.

* Third on the all-time Sprint Cup wins list with 92, the most recent being this past Sunday at Dover International Speedway.

* NASCAR’s reigning Ironman with 754 consecutive starts over 22 full-time seasons.

And that last item leads us into perhaps one of the most interesting statistics of Gordon’s long and storied career, according to a newly-released statistic update from NASCAR.

His Dover win gave Gordon his 450th top-10 finish, moving him into third on the all-time list, just three top-10s behind second-ranked Mark Martin (453) and a distant 262 behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty’s 712 career top-10s.

Not only that, Gordon leads the entire Sprint Cup Series with 19 top-10 finishes in 29 starts thus far in 2014.

He also has 317 top-five finishes.

While Gordon has won at least once on every Sprint Cup track (including three times at this weekend’s venue, Kansas Speedway), here’s an interesting irony:

Gordon has earned 76 pole positions in his career, but has failed to do so at four different tracks: Kansas, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Yet another irony: all four of those tracks are 1.5-mile facilities. Seventeen of Gordon’s 92 career wins have come on 1.5-milers.

Go figure.

I guess while it’s a neat thing to start a race in first, it’s obviously better to finish a race in first, as well.

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Meyer Shank Racing wins second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona to begin GTP era


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Grand Touring Prototype era began just as the previous one ended as Meyer Shank Racing’s Acura captured its second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona with burgeoning superstar Tom Blomqvist emphatically starting and finishing the race.

The No. 60 ARX-06 won the 24-hour endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway by 4.190 seconds over Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, giving Acura a sweep of the top two spots.

The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-LMDh cars took the next two spots with Renger van der Zande (the No. 01) and Earl Bamber (No. 02) as four of the nine new GTP cars finished on the lead lap within 12 seconds of each other and four more finished the race – quashing the prerace hand-wringing of mass failures for the highly technical cars in the debut of the hybrid prototype premier category.

“Amazed is the right word,” Honda Performance Development president David Salters said when asked about reliability. “These are sophisticated cars. It’s not easy. It’s a testament to each group that they did a really good job. It was a fight all the way through the race. I didn’t expect that at all.”

There were major problems for the manufacturer newcomers Porsche Penske Motorsport and BMW M Team RLL, whose two pairs of cars all finished at least a dozen laps down or more because of major mechanical problems in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

But there were no such failures for Acura despite the manufacturer skipping any endurance testing with the new LMDh car. Salters said his

It’s the third Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for co-owner Mike Shank, who won his first in 2012.

Just as he capped the 2022 season by winning the Petit Le Mans season finale in the No. 60 Acura to clinch the final championship of the DPi division for MSR, Blomqvist was behind the wheel again for his third overall victory in IMSA.

“That was crazy,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “I knew we had a fantastic car. I’ve been working hard. Unbelievable. Massive, well done, everyone being part of this project and worked together on this project. What a car we’ve built.

“I was just a bit nervous. The 10 was definitely the second-fastest car, but we held them off.”

Blomqvist showed that MSR was the class of the field from the green flag, starting on pole position and leading the first 61 laps around 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course while building a lead of several seconds.

He seemed just as strong nearly a day later, fending off challenges over four restarts after getting in the car with an hour and 45 minutes remaining.

The No. 60 Acura ARX-06 of Meyer Shank Racing takes the checkered flag in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona (David Tucker / USA TODAY Sports Images).

It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR’s trio of Blomqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, who were joined this year by Colin Braun (winning his first Rolex 24 overall).

Castroneves joined select company in winning the Rolex 24 in three consecutive years (his first win was with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021 — also in an Acura, which now has three consecutive Rolex 24s). Peter Gregg won the Rolex 24 in 1973, ’75 and ’76 (the 1974 race wasn’t held because of the oil crisis).

Castroneves and Pagenaud are entering their second consecutive year as teammates for Meyer Shank Racing’s Dallara-Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series.

“Can you believe that?” Castroneves told Lee. “Big props to everyone. Everyone did an amazing job. Everybody worked so hard together. We got it! Another one. I can’t believe it. This is absolutely a dream come true.”

The Meyer Shank Racing team climbs the Daytona International Speedway fence in celebration of a second consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona (David Tucker / USA TODAY Sports Images).

The four-time Indy 500 winner led the team in his signature fence-climbing celebration afterward — just as he had when he finished MSR’s victory in last year’s Rolex 24 and when he won the 2021 Indy 500 for the team.

“It’s always fun to climb the fence with Helio,” said Pagenaud, who drove the second-to-last stint before Blomqvist closed it out: “The competition as amazing. It was tough out there. So much fun. Hope you had as much fun as we had. I’m going to savor this one.”

Winners in other classes were the No. 55 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition (which triumphed on a last-lap pass by James Allen on Ben Hanley), WeatherTech Racing’s No. 79 Mercedes in GTD Pro, Heart of Racing’s No. 27 Aston Martin in GTD and AWA’s No. 17 in LMP3.