Jeff Gordon commented in the post race press conference that eventually every driver goes to victory lane for the last time. Fans had began to wonder not so much when but if Gordon would every get to victory lane again. His last win came at the spring race at Texas in 2009 and had become the longest drought of his career.
It’s not to say Gordon hadn’t ran well. He had totaled 8 finishes of second during that time but when you have had the success that Gordon has had in your career crossing the line second doesn’t silence any of the doubters.
Winning does. Dominating does. Gordon looked as good on Sunday as he ever has. He clinched the bonus points for most laps led, and when he was circling behind Kyle Busch as the race was drawling to a conclusion you knew he was going to get to the checkers first.
Last week Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 as a 20 year old. He grew up watching and cheering Jeff Gordon go to victory lane. On Sunday he got a first hand view of Gordon going to victory lane at Phoenix. With the reconfiguration of Phoenix upcoming it’s fitting that a driver who has had success at the track would take the last victory.
The win was the 83rd of his career but the joy was all the same. Joined by car owner Rick Hendrick and new crew chief Alan Gustafson we have to remember that Gordon is as much a title contender as anyway.