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48th race is the charm for Gordon

Driver’s Sprint Cup dry spell finally ends in Texas

Jeff Gordon celebrates after winning the NASCAR Samsung 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. He had been in 47 races since his last win.

Jeff Gordon celebrates after winning the NASCAR Samsung 500 auto race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday in Fort Worth, Texas. He had been in 47 races since his last win.

FORT WORTH, Texas – Jeff Gordon had gone so long without winning a race, that he picked up a new trick or two watching other drivers celebrate.

No, not a backflip a la Carl Edwards.

After the obligatory burnout on the front stretch for his first victory ever at Texas, one that ended his career-high 47-race winless drought in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Gordon pulled up to the start-finish line and got the checkered flag to take on a long-awaited victory lap.

“It was the coolest. It was like winning for the very first time,” Gordon said. “Things have changed since I won a race . . . That’s the first time I’ve ever carried a checkered flag in NASCAR. I used to do that in quarter-midgets when I was 8.”

Then, after doing another burnout on the backstretch, Gordon finally got to drive into Victory Lane at Texas, where winners get cowboy hats and fire six-shooters into the air.

“This is a huge relief, but also very exciting,” Gordon said. “If we can win at Texas, I feel like we can win anywhere.”

Gordon, already the season points leader with four top-five finishes in the first six races, beat Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson to win for the first time on the 1 1/2-mile high-banked Texas track – leaving only one active track he hasn’t won in his No. 24 Chevrolet.

Edwards, who was going for three in a row at Texas after last year getting to do his celebratory backflips twice by sweeping both races, finished 10th after passing Gordon to lead only nine laps late in the race.

It was the 17th Cup race at Texas, the track where the four-time Cup champion has the only two last-place finishes in his 552 career starts. One of the 43rd-place finishes came last spring before he was the runner-up to Edwards in the fall race after winning the pole.

“How ironic is this that when we go into this streak and we end it here in Texas, a place that’s just eluded us for so long,” Gordon said. “Incredible team effort. This whole year has been amazing. What a great car. I’ve never had a car like this at Texas. We finally had one and put it in position.”

The only track Gordon now hasn’t won at is Homestead. He will have to wait until the season finale in November for a chance to change that.

Not only was it his first victory in the Lone Star state, it was the first time Gordon had won anywhere since October 2007 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte.

IndyCar Series

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Ryan Briscoe held off Ryan Hunter-Reay to win the IndyCar Series season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg on Sunday.

Briscoe, driving for Team Penske, passed Justin Wilson for the lead on a restart 14 laps from the end of the crash-filled Honda Grand Prix. The Aussie then stayed out front as Hunter-Reay, driving on the new softer alternate tires that provide more grip, also got past Wilson and tried to chase the him down.

There was one last restart on the slick 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit, but Briscoe was able to fend off a strong move by Hunter-Reay, who only got his ride with Vision Racing seven days earlier.

Briscoe was relieved to finish the 100-lap event after crashing out here in his two previous starts – the first with Target Chip Ganassi Racing in 2005 and then last year, his first season with Roger Penske’s team.

Formula One

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Brawn GP’s Jenson Button has won the rain-shortened Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix, curtailed after a tropical storm hit the Sepang circuit.

BMW’s Nick Heidfeld was second Sunday and Toyota’s Timo Glock finished third.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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