June 9, 1997 in Sports

Gordon Tires Of Losing At Pocono

Associated Press
 

Auto racing

No matter how often he wins at Pocono International Raceway, Jeff Gordon has trouble forgetting some of the losses.

“I’ve lost by missing a shift. I’ve spun out and I’ve been stuck in the mud,” he said Sunday after winning the Pocono 500.

So, it was a wary Gordon who began to back off when a tire problem nearly left him a lap down.

“I knew something was wrong, and I would have come in sooner,” he said. “I thought maybe I got up high and got something on the tires.

It was more than that, but not fatal to his chances.

The victory came a week after the 25-year-old Hoosier crashed late in the race while pursuing a record third straight win at Dover Downs.

This time, however, a cut tire on his Chevrolet came after just 20 of 200 laps. Gordon was forced to pit under green, and regained race speed with Ward Burton a few car-lengths shy of lapping him.

Gordon got the break he needed when caution came out because Bobby Labonte spun in the first turn on lap 59. Gordon was able to close up on the leaders.

Burton dominated until the 120th lap when his brother, Jeff, and Gordon closed what had been a 2-second lead to a few car-lengths. The third caution came out on lap 131, and all the leaders pitted. But the slow pit stops that had checked Burton over the first half of the event bit him again, and Gordon got out first.

Gordon beat the Ford of Jeff Burton by 1.415 seconds to win for the 25th time in 4-1/2 seasons on the Winston Cup circuit. Fords took the next six positions behind Gordon, with Dale Jarrett finishing third ahead of Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield and Ted Musgrave.

True Value 500K

Arie Luyendyk was right after all. He did deserve to be in the True Value 500K winner’s circle at Fort Worth, Texas, instead of A.J. Foyt.

Luyendyk was declared the winner of the Indy Racing League event following an all-night review of a wild race that ended Saturday with Foyt punching the Dutch driver in the head. Foyt drivers Billy Boat and Davey Hamilton were listed 1-2 with Luyendyk, the winner of last month’s Indianapolis 500, third.

Officials discovered that sensors tracking cars across the start-finish line in the pit were operating intermittently. Five cars, including Luyendyk’s, were affected.

Detroit Grand Prix

Greg Moore won the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix when PacWest teammates Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell both ran out of fuel on the last lap.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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