Feature Story

Jeff's 10 Best Moments From 2001

(November 19, 2001)- - Jeff Gordon won his fourth Winston Cup championship in 2001. He posted six victories and left a trail of indellible memories. Following are my choices for his 10 best on-track moments in 2001.

10. Starting from the pole position at Rockingham in February. On the pace lap, Gordon drops back to the third position in a "missing man formation" to honor Dale Earnhardt.
9. Victory at Dover in June. Gordon dominated on the Delaware oval. Reminiscent of his dominant performance on the track in the mid-90's.
8. Gordon was running eighth on the final lap of the EA Sports 500 at Talladega in October. Bobby Labonte and Bobby Hamilton tangled at the front of the pack on the final lap. Gordon played bump tag with Matt Kenseth to somehow get through the smoke and wrecked cars. He went on to finish seventh and open a nearly insurmountable lead in the series point standings. His closest challenger in the standings, Ricky Rudd, was engulfed in the wreck.
7. Victory at Watkins Glen in August. Gordon's record breaking seventh Winston Cup victory on a road course. Held off a furious charge by Jeff Burton. Expanded his points lead after Dale Jarrett spun off course twice and was mired in the gravel trap.
6. Victory at Kansas City in September. A strong late race pass on Mark Martin at the start-finish line. The win was dedicated to 15-year-old Matt Dahl, a fan from Colorado who lost his father in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Captain Jason Dahl was the pilot of Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania.
5. Victory at Michigan in June. The 100th Winston Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon passed Ricky Rudd on the outside going into turn one on the final lap to take the lead.
4. Victory in the Brickyard 400 in August. Crew chief Robbie Loomis made adjustments throughout the race. Gordon passed Sterling Marlin on a late race restart to take the win.
3. Victory at Las Vegas in March. Gordon's first win on the Nevada track and a $1,000,000 bonus in the process. After struggling at the track in 2000, Gordon started 24th and made his way through race traffic in the mid-stages of the event. A much needed early season confidence booster.
2. A stormy night in May. After a wreck just after the green flag in The Winston, NASCAR allows teams to use back-up cars due to the wet track. After a rain delay the DuPont team pulls out their backup and Gordon wins The Winston for the third time in his career.
1. After struggling down the stretch in the season, Gordon finishes sixth in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to clinch the Winston Cup title. His victory speech included a heartfelt tribute to Dale Earnhardt.

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