RELATED: Watch Gordon's first Chicagoland win JOLIET, Ill. -- Jeff Gordon made his 788th consecutive start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, equaling the series record established by former driver Ricky Rudd . Barring some catastrophic occurrence, a week from now at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , the 44-year-old will break Rudd's longstanding mark. From his first start on Nov. 20, 1992 through this weekend's myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway , Gordon has been one of the few constants in the series. Primary sponsorship of the series has changed -- what was Winston Cup is now Sprint Cup ; tracks have been added and subtracted; cars have evolved, rules have been re-written. Champions have come and champions have gone. Gordon, however, has persevered. Since his first start in Sprint Cup , he has always driven the No. 24 Chevrolet and he has always driven for owner Rick Hendrick. "That's one of those things I feel strange talking about because I do appreciate and respect the safety of this sport and the side that it can be taken away from you at any time," Gordon said of the milestone. "I want to break that record. I think it's a huge accomplishment because it's not that easy to do. It's easier today I think because the sport is safer. "I look at Ricky Rudd ; what he went through to make it is pretty extraordinary so I can't quite compare to that, but I've been in this sport a long time, I've been in every single race and that is definitely a stat that I will look back on and be very proud of when we accomplish that at New Hampshire." NASCAR Hall of Fame member and 1988 series champion Bill Elliott won the race at Atlanta in which Gordon made his first Sprint Cup start. In an unusual twist, Chase Elliott , Bill's son, will take over the driving duties of the No. 24 entry beginning next season as Gordon steps aside to begin a career outside the car that will include a stint in the broadcast booth with FOX Sports. "How old is Jeff, 50?" fellow driver Clint Bowyer quipped earlier this week during a break in testing at Kansas Speedway . "It seems like he ought to be 60 as long as he's been in this sport. "When you think about the bruisers, the tough guys of this sport, Ricky Rudd was always that guy, you know? For Jeff to be in it as long as he has, and to stay safe as long as he has, it says a lot about the cars he is driving, the people that are working on those cars, the safety innovations in this sport; that's the reason that you can do those things and he can continue to do it at the age he’s doing it. Stay sharp and on top of his game like he has." RELATED: Rudd and other drivers who have raced injured Six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson , Gordon's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports , couldn't resist a playful dig when asked about Gordon's record-equaling accomplishment. "He's old," Johnson said with a laugh. "I can't believe it. It's amazing how fast the time goes. I'm sure Jeff would say the same." When Johnson moved into Cup fulltime in '02, Gordon was coming off his fourth championship and was already a winner of 58 races. "It's crazy to think that in 270-some races (before '02) … I can't believe what he had accomplished in that window of time," Johnson said. "He's had an amazing career and I hate to see him go. I wish he was still going to be around but I know he's fired up about for what's next in life. He's been doing it a long time. "The success he's had, and especially right off the bat, is really impressive." Rudd's streak began Jan. 1, 1981 at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway with a DiGard team owned by Bill Gardner. It didn't end until Sept. 20, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway while paired with Wood Brothers Racing . Rudd , Gordon and Bobby Labonte (704) are the only drivers with more than 700 consecutive starts. Matt Kenseth , with 538 consecutive starts, is next in line among those drivers still competing fulltime in the series. "I look at Ricky Rudd , what he went through to make it is pretty extraordinary so I can't quite compare to that, but I've been in this sport a long time," Gordon said. "I've been in every single race and that is definitely a stat that I will look back on and be very proud of when we accomplish that at New Hampshire." There were times, he said, when the possibility of missing a race existed, but they were few and far between, due to health concerns rather than performance-based issues. One that quickly comes to mind, he said, was a blown right-front tire at Texas Motor Speedway in 1999 that sent Gordon's Chevrolet hard into the outside wall and left the driver with a rib injury. "No SAFER barrier, no HANS device, seats were not what they are today, seat belts were not what they are today," Gordon said. "That could have been a very serious injury. It ended up being bruised ribs and I was hurting but we had a weekend off so I was able to recover enough to go to Bristol the next race." "Of course the back issue that I had last year at Charlotte -- I wasn't prepared for that. When I got back in the car on Saturday and it hurt as bad as it did, I was scared that I might not make it into that race … the next day. "Luckily I had some great doctors that got me through it, we did the injections and I was able to make it through that race." Week after week, year after year, Gordon has continued to show up, suit up and race as hard as he did that first Sunday at Atlanta more than two decades ago. "What are mine?" Bowyer asked of his own number of consecutive starts. Told 351, Bowyer seemed stunned. "Three fifty one to 787? Whoa! I'll be 60 (by then)," he said. "No, it really is a hell of an accomplishment; what a career and he’s done a lot for our sport and everybody involved in it. It really is crazy to think next year there will not be a Jeff Gordon (on the track)." No other full-time driver competing today was also in the field that day in Atlanta. So Bowyer not only spoke for himself but for the other 41 drivers in today's race. "He's been in every single ( Sprint Cup ) race that I've ever been a part of."
Relive Jeff Gordon’s 55th career victory that came in 2001 at Michigan International Speedway. Gordon would hold off a hard-charging Ricky Rudd to earn Hendrick Motorsports its 100th win in NASCAR’s top series.
MORE: Sunday's full lineup RELATED: Gordon's top 24 NASCAR moments " Full Gordon coverage HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Busy week, surrounded by a lot of friends and family, a legendary figure making the final start of his career with a shot at going out as a five-time champion. Racer. Philanthropist. Father. What's there to say about Jeff Gordon that hasn't been said? What's there to write that hasn't been written? Do a Google search for " Jeff Gordon " and the search engine generates approximately 79 million results. Tom Brady? 83.1 million. Kobe Bryant? 34.6 million. Derek Jeter? 14 million. Gordon, 44, is one of those rare athletes who have transcended their individual sport. A champion on the track? Without question. Off the track? Certainly. Television and tabloids flock to him. He purchased a second residence in New York City in part to escape the spotlight and to navigate life in between races unimpeded by the fame that followed him elsewhere. Maybe he would not carry the same clout or create the same buzz had he chosen another profession. Then again, perhaps his impact would have been even greater elsewhere. A precocious, driven youngster whose family packed up moved east from California in order to continue his development as a racer. A NASCAR premier series champion at 24. And 26. And 27. And 30. Now, at 44, is there one more title in the tank? What's there to say that hasn't been said, write that hasn't been written? WATCH: Gordon's first Homestead win The Alpha and Omega NASCAR didn't begin with Gordon, and it certainly won't end when the Hendrick Motorsports driver climbs from his No. 24 Chevrolet for the final time on Sunday evening. "Everybody's career comes to an end," Richard Petty said. "He's going out strong. I admire him for that part of it. "I wouldn't mind seeing him win the championship because he's meant so much to NASCAR over the years. They're going to miss him a whole lot from that standpoint." There is no one in the sport more qualified to speak on such matters than the man known simply as "The King." Now 78, Petty set the standard for champions on the track as well as how to conduct oneself outside the car. Icon, inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame member, winner of 200 races and seven championships, Petty is NASCAR. The Petty family is NASCAR. Petty's father, Lee, won three titles, 54 races and was in the very first sanctioned race. He, too, is a member of the Hall of Fame. The careers of Richard Petty and Gordon are inextricably linked by a single date – Nov. 15, 1992. Petty made his 1,184th and final start in NASCAR's premier series. Gordon made his very first in the same event. Petty met privately with Gordon this weekend at Homestead to present him with one of his signature Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hats. It was a gesture of appreciation and acknowledgement of everything Gordon has accomplished. But Petty understands better than most that the sport will move forward, just as it did when he stepped out of the car that sunny day in Atlanta. "No matter who you are, you're not strong enough to carry the whole load," Petty said. "He's been a strong leader all these years, but over a period of time, the next crowd comes along and kind of fades them all out. Over a period of time, you go away whether you want to or not." RELATED: Best No. 24 paint schemes Auspicious beginning Gordon won the series' Rookie of the Year title in 1993, competing for the honor against Bobby Labonte , Kenny Wallace and P.J. Jones. Two years later, he won his first championship. It was the era of Dale Earnhardt, the six-time champion chasing Petty's mark of seven titles while blazing new trails. He was "The Intimidator." He was NASCAR. Petty, Earnhardt and then there was Gordon. No one else was as dominant -- between 1995 and '99, Gordon won 47 races. He won Daytona. He won Indy. He won the Winston Million. Had he not come along? "Someone else would have taken that spot," Mike Helton, NASCAR Vice Chairman, said. "I don't know that anybody could have filled it, though. "There's a difference. It's like if the Atlantic Ocean went dry, somebody could figure out how to get water in it, but could they fill that whole ocean? "I think we were very fortunate for Jeff to appear when he did and do what he did along the way to keep our momentum going. It certainly added to the momentum that we had going in that era. We needed a Jeff Gordon and he arose. He came into the sport ... he could have chosen open-wheel racing ... and he would have been massively successful." Why was it Gordon? Why not someone else who stepped up and helped carry the sport forward, who resonated with fans and sponsors? Helton doesn't know. "I know growing up there was a reason I became a big fan of John Wayne. And there were a lot of cowboys on television," he said. "I just think that speaks to Jeff's inclusiveness, and his capabilities extended beyond just being a very successful athlete as a race car driver." There have been issues from time to time, but nothing major, according to Helton, who added, "Of course we've had conversations in which he'd had to write checks afterward." Earnhardt's death in 2001, in the season-opening Daytona 500 , turned the sport upside down. Gordon was one of the few who could help stabilize it in an uncertain time. "I think the whole industry looked at Jeff to take Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s place when we lost Dale," said Helton. "The garage area needed a voice like we've had historically, whether it was Richard Petty or Darrell Waltrip, Dale Sr. ... He got pressure from the industry inside the garage to be that voice. "When that came, along with the championships that preceded that, he understood the need for a league or sanctioning body in order for the athlete to be successful. But he also had a good soapbox to stand on saying 'Look, we need our voice to be heard too.' And I think the respect worked both ways." RELATED: NASCAR Nation honors Gordon with #24ever 'Iron Man' of NASCAR Consecutive starts: 796. It's one more impressive record in Jeff Gordon 's body of work. He's never missed a start, and passed Ricky Rudd for the consecutive starts record earlier this year. Now, only one remains, one final attempt, one final opportunity. Because of the format for NASCAR's championship-determining Chase, Gordon doesn't have to win Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 . He has to finish ahead of only three challengers -- Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) to capture the title. He'll go out a winner regardless of where he finishes. Whether or not he goes out a champion has yet to be determined. Capturing the inaugural Brickyard 400 in '94 has always stood out as his most memorable moment. Until a recent Martinsville victory put him in the Championship 4 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The '98 season when he won 13 races, the fourth title in '01 with crew chief Robby Loomis after the departure of mentor Ray Evernham and the '95 crown that was won when he "was going against Earnhardt; that was huge," Gordon said earlier this week. The finality of the moment, though, carries much weight. "My final year, my final race, (wife) Ingrid and the kids," Gordon said. "Kids motivate you in a whole new way, and no matter what we're going to go out and be happy and celebrate. "But to do it as a champion, oh, my gosh, I just can't imagine anything that would be more emotional and more exciting and more gratifying than to look at my wife in the eyes and see that reaction from her when that race is over if we win it." MORE: Drivers offer favorite Gordon memories
RELATED: Gordon sets new NASCAR standard To be a sport's "Iron Man" requires battling through plenty -- nagging injuries, poor performance at times and so much more. It also requires longevity, which comes from being pretty successful over the course of a long career. You can't become a sport's Iron Man overnight. On Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , Jeff Gordon became the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Iron Man. With his start in the Sylvania 300 at the "Magic Mile," Gordon made his 789th consecutive start. Ricky Rudd had held the honor since passing soon-to-be NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte in 2002, with the final total of 788 consecutive starts ending when Rudd didn't start the 2006 Daytona 500 . But think about this -- It took Gordon 24 years and 23 full-time seasons to set a new mark and it comes as he now has just eight races left in his full-time career after New Hampshire. The longevity and success that comes with being able to set such a mark is remarkable. Gordon has been a four-time champion in the sport's top series, won 92 races in his career and is a surefire Hall of Famer. If he wasn't winning races and titles, he would not have been in position to set this record. He has overcome some back trouble en route to passing Rudd but just as so routinely dispatched competitors in the prime of his career, he battled past the back issues. Gordon's breaking of this record brings back memories of when Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's Major League Baseball record for consecutive games played in 1995. Gehrig's mark of 2,130 consecutive games played, which ended in the 1939 season, was thought to be a record that would stay with the Hall New York Yankees Hall of Famer forever. But Ripken Jr. broke Gehrig's record on Sept. 6, 1995 and went on to establish a new mark with 2,632 before bringing his streak to an end late in 1998 season. Interestingly, Gordon tied Rudd's mark 17 years to the day that Ripken ended his streak. Ripken, a Hall of Famer for the Baltimore Orioles, battled plenty during his long run to get to the record: slumps, changing batting stances, sprained ankles and a knee injury suffered in a brawl. His streak lasted parts of 17 seasons and it took him 14 seasons to catch Gehrig, simply by doing one of the most overlooked tasks in life: showing up, ready to go to work. On the night Ripken broke the record, he hit a home run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the fifth when the game became official, Ripken received a standing ovation at Oriole Park at Camden Yards that lasted over 20 minutes with umpires, opposing players, teammates and fans saluting the Orioles legend. Ripken did a victory lap around the field to shake hands with fans. While Gordon and Ripken reached their milestones with one team, NFL quarterback Brett Favre took a different path. Favre played most of his career for the Green Bay Packers, winning one Super Bowl with the team, but also had stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. Favre holds the record of most consecutive starts by any player in the NFL with 297 (321 if you count playoff games) and he is just one of eight quarterbacks to have started 100 consecutive games. Even more mind blowing, 238 quarterbacks made starts in the NFL during his streak. Favre broke the mark of 116 held by former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, turned ESPN analyst, Ron Jaworski in 1999 and he broke the mark for consecutive starts at any position, 271, in 2009. Favre's streak would come to an end toward the end of 2010 when he suffered a shoulder injury. Favre is on the 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot and will likely get enshrined in Canton, Ohio, in short order. Legends set records that push them into another realm in their sport and Gordon's consecutive start mark is just the latest in a long line of athletic accomplishments to do so. The fact that it comes in what is his final full-time season is both poetic and fitting as his own racing career is winding down. As an Iron Man, Gordon is in a unique class that recognizes both the length and greatness of his career.
RELATED: Full coverage of Gordon's final season Jeff Gordon revealed the paint scheme he will run in his final race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver on FOX Sports 1's "NASCAR Race Hub" on Tuesday evening. Appearing on the FS1 program, Gordon pulled the cover off his No. 24 Chevrolet SS to display a silver and flame-themed race car. Here it is-- @AxaltaRacing 's final paint scheme of '15 & @JeffGordonWeb 's final career paint scheme! #WePaintWinners pic.twitter.com/Y2DszpBXu4 — Axalta Racing (@AxaltaRacing) September 22, 2015 Here it is! @JeffGordonWeb 's final paint scheme, the @AxaltaRacing Chevy SS he'll race @HomesteadMiami . pic.twitter.com/jygNNpc2Hl — Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) September 22, 2015 Here it is. The final @AxaltaRacing @TeamChevy for @HomesteadMiami ! What do you think? #NASCAR #Team24 pic.twitter.com/6D108GpHd5 — Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) September 22, 2015 The four-time champion will run the special paint scheme in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale Ford EcoBoost 400 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Be sure to tune in to see Gordon wrap up his Hall of Fame-worthy career on Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. RELATED: Gordon has 'No plans to run any races after this year' This weekend, Gordon is set to become NASCAR's "Iron Man" by making his 789th consecutive start in the Sprint Cup Series when the series comes to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Sylvania 300 (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Gordon tied Ricky Rudd's mark of 788 consecutive starts last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway . Gordon will be joining FOX's NASCAR broadcast crew in 2016 upon the completion of his historic career. To read more about his role with FOX, click here .
RELATED: Chicagoland results " Gordon ties 'Ironman' record JOLIET, Ill. -- Jeff Gordon tied one mark but the title he was really after slipped away like a worn set of Goodyear tires. On a final restart. With the race on the line. "It's the best I've run all year long," Gordon said, trying to find the silver lining in the dark cloud of a 14th-place finish Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway . It was the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup , the first of 10 stops that will determine this year's champion. It's the last Chase for Gordon, who will step aside at year's end. He's 44 and nearly all of that time has been spent behind the wheel of a race car. He equaled former driver Ricky Rudd's record for consecutive starts, at 788, when he fired up the engine on his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Sunday. PHOTOS: Gordon through the years He led laps in the myAFibRisk.com 400 -- 41 by day's end. But a decision to stay out under caution, wagering four used tires and track position might be enough to take him back to victory lane for a 93rd time, failed to materialize. Second alongside Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) on the Lap 263 restart, Gordon was unable to hold his line as the field raced across the start/finish line and off into Turn 1 on the 1.5-mile track. His Chevrolet pushed up the track, higher and higher, losing momentum and losing positions. Nothing else could be done but to gather it back in and hold off those he could during the final five-lap dash. Busch and Denny Hamlin also chose not to pit prior to the final restart. Hamlin shot underneath Gordon and raced past Busch to take the lead in Turns 1 and 2 and there was no catching the Joe Gibbs Racing driver after that. "I was just trying to hold pace with Kurt; I knew I had Denny behind me on older tires as well," Gordon said later. "I was somewhat encouraged for that. (Denny) got a good run on me. I blocked him. He's pushing me and we're on the apron. I felt like I did a good job, I just came up off the apron a little too early. "He was just able to motor right on by me on the inside. Once I got three wide, we were done. It was over at that point." The result left Gordon 12th in points with two races remaining – next week's stop at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway the following week – in the opening Challenger Round of the Chase. Only the top 12, including any Chase driver with a win, advance. Three of those trailing Gordon have yet to win this season. The fourth, defending series champion Kevin Harvick , has two wins and more runnerup finishes (10) than anyone since Bobby Allison in 1972. It was the most laps led in a race by Gordon since the spring race earlier this year at Talladega Superspeedway and his first time at the front in his last four starts. "One thing you have to understand is we haven't been running the way we've been running from a lack of effort," Gordon said. "And we didn't run the way we did today without putting a lot of hard work into bringing better race cars to the race track. "I'm extremely encouraged by that. ... Everybody's been working together to make improvements because we know we've been behind. Today was extremely encouraging."
WATKINS GLEN-SPECIFIC STATISTICS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York going into the CHEEZ-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN) on August 9. AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Kroger’s/Bush's Beans Chevrolet) · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 7.833, second-best · Average Running Position of 12.288, third-best · Driver Rating of 100.5, third-best · 16 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.332, fourth-fastest · 363 Laps in the Top 15 (67.0), fifth-most · 114 Quality Passes, 11th-most Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Maxwell House Toyota) · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 15.778, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 15.912, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 83.3, 13th-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.569, 12th-fastest · 427 Laps in the Top 15 (52.6), 12th-most · 106 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th David Gilliland 331 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 331 0 32 Kyle Busch 4 318 -13 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 279 -52 34 Alex Bowman 0 264 -67 35 Michael Annett 0 248 -83 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 220 -111 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -145 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -207 39 Jeb Burton # 0 120 -211 40 Alex Kennedy # 0 77 -254 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Crispy Toyota) · Two wins, four top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.300, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 12.453, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 108.4, second-best · 74 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.360, second-fastest · 638 Laps in the Top 15 (70.6), fourth-most · 183 Quality Passes, sixth-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.900, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 15.864, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 94.3, seventh-best · 51 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.288, fifth-fastest · 564 Laps in the Top 15 (62.4), eighth-most · 190 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Five top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.400, third-best · Average Running Position of 12.370, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 95.0, sixth-best · 15 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.959, sixth-fastest · 666 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7), third-most · 203 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet) · Four wins, six top fives, nine top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 21.600, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 17.075, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 85.7, 10th-best · 42 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.314, 13th-fastest · 479 Laps in the Top 15 (53.0), 11th-most · 164 Quality Passes, eighth-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota) · One top five, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.000, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 15.543, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 85.7, 11th-best · 11 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.911, seventh-fastest · 468 Laps in the Top 15 (57.6), 10th-most · 181 Quality Passes, seventh-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 14.500, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 15.555, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 89.0, ninth-best · 11 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.817, ninth-fastest · 543 Laps in the Top 15 (60.1), ninth-most · 161 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.100, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 10.079, second-best · Driver Rating of 100.1, fourth-best · 28 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.338, third-fastest · 715 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1), second-most · 208 Quality Passes, series-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 12.200, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 14.117, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 97.5, fifth-best · 39 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.878, eighth-fastest · 290 Laps in the Top 15 (64.2), seventh-most · 66 Quality Passes, 13th-most Jamie McMurray (No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 19.300, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 17.508, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 83.7, 12th-best · 9 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.734, 10th-fastest · 465 Laps in the Top 15 (51.4), 13th-most · 130 Quality Passes, 10th-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Five wins, seven top fives, ten top 10s · Average finish of 7.500, series-best · Average Running Position of 5.661, series-best · Driver Rating of 120.4, series-best · 106 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.785, series-fastest · 678 Laps in the Top 15 (93.6), series-most · 195 Quality Passes, third-most Martin Truex Jr (No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet) · Three top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 12.444, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 12.885, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 90.7, eighth-best · 6 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.686, 11th-fastest · 536 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0), sixth-most · 188 Quality Passes, fifth-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Watkins Glen International Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 14 0 1 2 7 0 12.6 89.0 2 Joey Logano 6 0 0 1 3 0 16.5 78.4 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 15 0 0 2 3 2 22.4 76.2 4 Jimmie Johnson 13 1 0 4 7 1 13.9 100.1 5 Martin Truex Jr 9 0 0 3 5 0 12.4 90.7 6 Brad Keselowski 5 0 0 3 3 0 12.2 97.5 7 Matt Kenseth 15 0 0 0 5 0 15.1 79.8 8 Jamie McMurray 12 0 0 1 2 2 19 83.7 9 Kurt Busch 14 1 0 2 6 3 18.6 94.3 10 Jeff Gordon 22 3 4 6 9 3 16.6 85.7 11 Denny Hamlin 9 0 0 1 4 3 20 85.7 12 Paul Menard 11 0 0 0 0 1 23.6 64.7 13 Ryan Newman 13 0 0 1 3 1 17.6 76.5 14 Clint Bowyer 9 0 0 1 3 0 15.8 83.3 15 Kasey Kahne 11 0 0 0 0 0 19.3 73.9 16 Carl Edwards 10 1 0 5 7 0 8.4 95.0 * – Based on last 10 races at Watkins Glen International (2005 – 2014). Watkins Glen International Data Season Race #: 22 of 36 (08-09-15) Track Size : 2.45-miles Number of Turns : 7 Race Length : 90 laps / 220.5 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Watkins Glen Tony Stewart ............................. 120.4 Kyle Busch ............................... 108.4 AJ Allmendinger ........................ 100.5 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 100.1 Brad Keselowski ......................... 97.5 Carl Edwards .............................. 95.0 Kurt Busch .................................. 94.3 Martin Truex Jr ............................ 90.7 Kevin Harvick .............................. 89.0 Jeff Gordon ................................ 85.7 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Watkins Glen International. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 129.466 mph, 68.126 secs. 08-09-14 2014 race winner : AJ Allmendinger , Chevrolet 90.123 mph, (02:26:48), 08-10-14 Track qualifying record: Marcos Ambrose , Ford 129.491 mph, 68.113 secs. 08-09-14 (Set in Round 1 of 3) Track race record: Mark Martin , Ford 103.030 mph, (02:11:54), 08-13-95 At Watkins Glen International: History · After several events were held on the streets of Watkins Glen, a permanent facility was opened in 1956. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was in 1957, won by Buck Baker (83.064 mph, 08/04/1957). · After a six-year absence, NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1964 and 1965. · After a 21-year absence, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to The Glen, and has run one race a year there since 1986. · The first NSCS race at Watkins Glen was scheduled for 101.2-miles in 1957, the second race was 161.7-miles (1964) and the third race was 151.8-miles (1965). Every race since has been scheduled for 220.5-miles. Starts · There have been 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International, one race per season. · 252 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen; 152 in more than one. · Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin , Michael Waltrip and Terry Labonte lead the series in starts at Watkins Glen with 22 each. Poles · Buck Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Watkins Glen in 1957 with a speed of 87.071 mph. Driver/owner Buck Baker went on to win the inaugural race from the pole. · 19 drivers have Coors Light poles at Watkins Glen, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon with three each. · Mark Martin is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to post consecutive Coors Light poles at Watkins Glen (three) – 1993, 1994, and 1995. · Youngest Watkins Glen pole winner: Kyle Busch (08/15/2011 – 26 years, 3 months, 13 days). · Oldest Watkins Glen pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (08/13/1989 – 47 years, 10 months, 1 day). · Tony Stewart leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Watkins Glen with a 6.286 – Stewart has made 14 starts at WGI. Wins · 19 different drivers have won at Watkins Glen International in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, led by Tony Stewart with five wins; followed by Jeff Gordon with four. · Jeff Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in road course wins with nine (Sonoma, five; Watkins Glen, four); Tony Stewart has the second most road course wins all-time with seven (Watkins Glen, five; Sonoma, two). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for the most wins at a single road course track with six - Riverside International Raceway. · Four drivers have posted consecutive wins at Watkins Glen, including three consecutive by Mark Martin (1993, ’94, ‘95) and Jeff Gordon (1997, ’98, ‘99). The other two drivers to win consecutive races at Watkins Glen are Tony Stewart (2004, ’05) and Marcos Ambrose (2011, ’12). · Youngest Watkins Glen winner: Kyle Busch (08/10/2008 – 23 years, 3 months, 8 days). · Oldest Watkins Glen winner: Geoff Bodine (08/11/1996 – 47 years, 3 months, 24 days). · Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are tied for the most wins at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six each: --- Hendrick Motorsports : Jeff Gordon (four), Tim Richmond (one) and Ricky Rudd (one). --- Joe Gibbs Racing : Tony Stewart (four) and Kyle Busch (two). · Six different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Watkins Glen; led by Chevrolet with 17 victories; followed by Ford with seven, Pontiac with four, Toyota with two and Buick and Mercury each have one. · Nine of the 32 (28.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kyle Busch in 2008. · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting position at Watkins Glen. · 11 of the 32 (34.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from the front row: nine from the pole and two from second-place. · 21 of the 32 (65.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top-five starting position. · 23 of the 32 (71.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top-10 starting position. · None of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Watkins Glen is 18th, by Steve Park in 2000. · All five of the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Watkins Glen participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. · Kevin Harvick (2006) and AJ Allmendinger (2014) both competed at Watkins Glen five times each before winning; the longest span of any of the five active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Watkins Glen: Steve Park (08/13/2000), Marcos Ambrose (08/15/11) and AJ Allmendinger (08/11/14). Additional Finishing Position Stats · Brad Keselowski and Mark Martin lead the series in runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen with three each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Watkins Glen with 12; followed by Ricky Rudd with eight. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with seven. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen with 16; followed by Ricky Rudd , Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart with 10 each. · AJ Allmendinger leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Watkins Glen with a 7.833. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Matt Kenseth lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen without visiting Victory Lane at 14 each. Track/Event Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen is the 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.172 second. · There have been two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Watkins Glen (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): 2005 (90/92) and 2011 (90/92). · Only one of the 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen has been shortened due to weather conditions - the 1992 race – only 51 of the scheduled 90 laps were completed. · The 8/14/2011 race was the only NSCS race at Watkins Glen that has been postponed to another date due to weather (8/15/2011). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen six times: 1965, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Watkins Glen with 262 laps led in 22 starts. Female Competitor Stats · Danica Patrick and Patty Moise are the only two female NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to compete at Watkins Glen International. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 43 21 8/10/2014 Danica Patrick 35 20 8/11/2013 Averages 39.0 20.5 Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Patty Moise 33 30 8/14/1988 Patty Moise 30 33 8/10/1987 Averages 31.5 31.5 NASCAR in New York · There have been 70 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among 15 tracks in the state of New York. Track Name City NSCS Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen 32 Monroe County Fairgrounds Rochester 8 Islip Speedway Islip 6 Bridgehampton Race Circuit B
Photo credit -- Chase Elliott 's Instagram @chaseelliott9 RELATED: Series standings At only 19 years old, Chase Elliott already has a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, is currently contending for a second one and has a pretty sweet job lined up next year taking over the iconic No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for retiring four-time Sprint Cup Series champ Jeff Gordon . Not only has Elliott's racing career taken off, he has too -- literally -- having just earned his private pilot license on July 23. And the view from above is something he's wanted his whole life. It seems Elliott got more than the racing gene from his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , as he has inherited the flying bug from his dad, an accomplished and avid aviator. "He's been flying a long time so I've always been around it since I was little," Elliott said of his father. "I've watched him fly for years and years and been fortunate enough to have access to his planes and sit up front and watch him fly them so I've always definitely interested in it. "It's one of those things where the more you do it, the more you become interested in it. And the more you get into it, the more intriguing it becomes. I learn something new every time I fly. "It's definitely tough to (master all the necessary lessons). A lot of things come along with it. But flying is a privilege and something you can't take lightly ever." A lot of the same traits -- discipline, smarts and dedication -- Elliott put into his burgeoning racing career he used to earn the pilot license. He actually started taking lessons while still in high school but it was such a busy time between school, racing and flying lessons that Elliott put off finishing his license until a few months ago with the support of his dad. "It's something you work hard for to achieve," Bill Elliott said. "I see so many people who have gone through a lot of the flying part and the learning curve but never went on and got their pilot licenses and they always regretted it. I told Chase, 'You need to go on and get this done.' "I'm glad he did. That's something he'll carry with him regardless of where racing takes him." The Elliotts join an impressive list of NASCAR drivers who have secured private pilot licenses including Carl Edwards , Greg Biffle , Matt Kenseth and retired drivers Mark Martin , Rusty Wallace, Cale Yarborough and Ricky Rudd . Ryan Newman 's wife Krissie flies helicopters. Similarly, Elliott figures having the ability to pilot an airplane can be as much a practicality as it is a luxury. His father helped secure him a Cessna 182 single-engine, four-seater to use and Elliott is eager to start flying to races closer than home. Last week, he flew to Bristol. He has also posted a photo of himself practicing grass landings on Instagram. "Absolutely, it's a major convenience if you need to go somewhere, you can turn a four-hour drive into an hour-and-a-half flight," Elliott said. "Time is valuable for anybody and any chance to make up time like that is great." Elliott wasn't sure if he would fly himself to this weekend's XFINITY Series race at Road America , but he is looking forward to the stand-alone road race regardless. It's the third road course race in the last four weeks for the series and Elliott is one of the series regulars who embraces the opportunity to turn right. He is on a six-race run of top-10 finishes in his No. 9 NAPA Chevy and currently trails championship leader Chris Buescher by 23 points in the standings. He has finishes of seventh (Watkins Glen) and fifth (Mid-Ohio) in the two road races this year and finished fourth at Road America last season. "I thought last year was a good learning experience," Elliott said. "I was really pleased with Watkins Glen. I'm still learning on my end, but thought we had good cars this year and that's a big step in right direction." For Elliott, that direction is up.
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan going into the Pure Michigan 400 on August 16 (NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET). MICHIGAN-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ortho Ford) · Four wins, ten top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.048, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 10.093, series-best · Driver Rating of 103.8, series-best · 311 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.305, third-fastest · 3265 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1), series-most · 920 Quality Passes, series-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Three wins, five top fives, ten top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 20.286, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.669, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 91.0, 10th-best · 184 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.517, 12th-fastest · 2620 Laps in the Top 15 (64.3), eighth-most · 682 Quality Passes, ninth-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 MICROSOFT Chevrolet) · Two wins, eight top fives, 13 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.143, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 12.173, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 98.9, fifth-best · 202 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.174, sixth-fastest · 2808 Laps in the Top 15 (68.9), seventh-most · 868 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 ARRIS Toyota) · Two wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 9.810, series-best · Average Running Position of 11.123, second-best · Driver Rating of 101.1, fourth-best · 214 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.223, fifth-fastest · 3099 Laps in the Top 15 (76.0), third-most · 887 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PEPSI Chevrolet) · Three wins, 19 top fives, 27 top 10s; six poles · Average finish of 15.667, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 13.660, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 93.3, seventh-best · 233 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.486, 13th-fastest · 2615 Laps in the Top 15 (64.1), ninth-most · 696 Quality Passes, eighth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.333, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 13.934, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 91.5, ninth-best · 170 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.883, ninth-fastest · 2279 Laps in the Top 15 (55.9), 13th-most · 675 Quality Passes, 10th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · One win, five top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 15.429, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 11.955, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 101.2, third-best · 415 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.598, second-fastest · 2909 Laps in the Top 15 (71.4), sixth-most · 776 Quality Passes, fifth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet) · One win, eight top fives, ten top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 17.000, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 15.213, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 89.5, 13th-best · 184 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.966, seventh-fastest · 2357 Laps in the Top 15 (57.8), 11th-most · 772 Quality Passes, sixth-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Two wins, 13 top fives, 19 top 10s · Average finish of 11.286, third-best · Average Running Position of 11.319, third-best · Driver Rating of 102.0, second-best · 174 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.234, fourth-fastest · 3125 Laps in the Top 15 (76.6), second-most · 873 Quality Passes, third-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 14.083, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 13.687, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 90.6, 12th-best · 55 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.856, 10th-fastest · 1478 Laps in the Top 15 (63.1), 10th-most · 379 Quality Passes, 12th-most Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, three top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.154, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.207, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 91.9, eighth-best · 82 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.951, eighth-fastest · 1445 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8), 12th-most · 410 Quality Passes, 11th-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) · One win, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s · Average finish of 11.053, second-best · Average Running Position of 13.103, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 94.1, sixth-best · 104 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.751, 11th-fastest · 2635 Laps in the Top 15 (71.7), fifth-most · 746 Quality Passes, seventh-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 10 at Michigan Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 29 1 1 7 12 1 13.6 91.5 2 Joey Logano 13 1 1 3 8 1 14.2 91.9 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 32 2 2 8 13 3 15.2 98.9 4 Jimmie Johnson 27 0 1 5 11 3 16 101.2 5 Brad Keselowski 12 0 0 3 5 0 14.1 90.6 6 Martin Truex Jr 19 0 0 4 6 1 17.2 81.1 7 Matt Kenseth 32 0 2 13 19 1 10.5 102.0 8 Kurt Busch 29 2 3 5 10 8 20.6 91.0 9 Jamie McMurray 25 0 0 1 5 2 18.7 72.5 10 Denny Hamlin 19 0 2 5 8 2 15.1 87.9 * – Based on last 21 races at Michigan International Speedway (2005 – 2015). Michigan International Speedway Data Season Race #: 23 of 36 (08-16-15) Track Size : 2-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 18 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 18 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 5 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 2 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,600 feet Backstretch Length : 2,242 feet Race Length : 200 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Michigan Greg Biffle ................................ 107.1 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 102.5 Matt Kenseth ............................. 101.2 Carl Edwards ............................ 100.5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 98.0 Tony Stewart ............................... 95.8 Jeff Gordon ................................ 93.6 Joey Logano .............................. 91.8 Kevin Harvick .............................. 90.2 Kurt Busch .................................. 89.9 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Michigan International Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 206.558 mph, 34.857 secs. 08-17-14 2014 race winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 141.788 mph, (02:49:16), 08-17-14 Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 206.558 mph, 34.857 secs. 08-17-14 Track race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford 173.997 mph, (2:17:56), 06-13-99 At Michigan International Speedway: History · Michigan International Speedway sits on more than 1,400 acres in the "Irish Hills" of Southeastern Michigan. Ground-breaking took place on Sept. 28, 1967. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan was held June 15, 1969 – won by Cale Yarborough at a speed of 139.254 mph. · The track was known as Michigan Speedway during the time Roger Penske was the primary owner (1996-99). · The first race was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600. The track was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 – with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles. · The 2-mile speedway underwent a repave in 2012. Starts · There have been 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway since the first race there in 1969. Other than 1973, which had just one race, there have been two races each season since 1969. · 377 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway; 275 in more than one. · Bill Elliott leads the series in starts at Michigan with 61. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 45 starts. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Michigan with a 9.556. · Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver have posted their first career start at Michigan International Speedway: Carl Edwards (8/22/2004) and Landon Cassill (6/13/2010). Poles · Donnie Allison won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Michigan in 1969 with a speed of 160.135 mph. · 46 drivers have Coors Light poles at Michigan, led by David Pearson with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six. · Six drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Michigan. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Michigan with five; fall 1976 through 1978. · Youngest Michigan pole winner: Joey Logano (08/16/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 23 days). · Oldest Michigan pole winner: Mark Martin (08/19/2012 – 53 years, 7 months, 10 days). · One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Michigan International Speedway: J.J. Yeley (6/17/2007). Wins · 36 different NSCS drivers have won at Michigan International Speedway, led by David Pearson with nine wins; Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four. · Eight drivers have posted consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway, including four consecutive by Bill Elliott (1985 sweep and 1986 sweep). · Youngest Michigan winner: Joey Logano (08/18/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 25 days). · Oldest Michigan winner: Harry Gant (08/16/1992 – 52 years, 7 months, 6 days). · Roush Fenway Racing has the most wins at Michigan in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 13: Mark Martin (four), Greg Biffle (four), Carl Edwards (two), Matt Kenseth (two) and Kurt Busch (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Michigan; led by Ford with 34 victories; followed by Chevrolet with 23. Toyota has four wins at Michigan. · 18 of the 92 (19.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jeff Gordon last season. · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (18) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway. · 26 of the 92 (28.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the front row: 18 from the pole and eight from second-place. · 69 of the 92 (75%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Seven of the 92 (7.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Michigan is 32nd, by Mark Martin in the spring of 2009. · All active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Michigan International Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Michigan in his third appearance, the fewest previous starts among the active NSCS winners. · Kevin Harvick competed at Michigan International Speedway 19 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Among the active NSCS Michigan winners Kevin Harvick (19), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (17) Kyle Busch (13), Jeff Gordon (11) and Joey Logano (10) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win. Additional Finishing Position Stats · Jeff Gordon leads the series in runner-up finishes at Michigan with eight; followed by Darrell Waltrip with seven and Kevin Harvick with five. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough leads the series in top-five finishes at Michigan with 21; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Michigan with 31; followed by Bill Elliott with 29. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27. · Carl Edwards leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Michigan with a 9.818. · Jamie McMurray leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan without visiting Victory Lane at 25; followed by Casey Mears at 24. Track/Event Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway was the June 10, 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Ricky Rudd with a MOV of 0.085 second. · There have been two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Michigan International Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2011 (200/203); and fall of 2012 (200/201). · Five of the 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 6/14/2015. · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway four times; most recently the spring of 2008 race. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Michigan with 1,058 laps led in 45 starts. Female Competitor Stats · Four female drivers have competed at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Robin McCall, Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick . Of the four female drivers to compete at Michigan, Guthrie has the best finish (10th). Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 19 16 6/14/2015 Danica Patrick 14 18 8/17/2014 Danica Patrick 27 17 6/15/2014 Danica Patrick 28 23 8/18/2013 Danica Patrick 37 13 6/16/2013 Patrick Averages 25.0 17.4 Shawna Robinson 32 34 6/10/2001 Robinson Averages 32.0 34.0 Robin McCall 29 33 8/22/1982 Robin McCall 35 29 6/20/1982 McCall Averages 32.0 31.0 Janet Guthrie 18 27
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Jeff Gordon 's rise to prominence in NASCAR didn't begin with success on the Sprint Cup Series' road courses. In fact, the Hendrick Motorsports driver was well on his way to his second of four Sprint Cup championships in 1997 before he took the checkered flag as race winner on one of the series' two winding, demanding layouts. That first win came at Watkins Glen International, site of Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) in 1997. It was his 144th career start and his 27th career victory. Today, he's recognized as the most successful road-course racer in NASCAR, with nine career victories. With retirement from full-time competition drawing closer with each passing weekend, it will be his last scheduled start on a road course. No more turning left AND right, hairpin turns or elevation changes. Success didn't come easy. "No, I remember going to Sonoma the first time and turning the car over on its side in the tire wall," Gordon recalled Friday at WGI. "I felt like I was pretty lost. "The second year I really felt a big progression and then the third year, which I think is when I won my first road-course race, I think in 1995 or 1996, everything just started to click. We worked hard at it. There is no doubt we worked hard at it. That hard work paid off." Gordon's recollection was off only by a season, understandable for one who has won more races (92) than any other active driver and fewer than only two others all-time, Hall of Famers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He was, however, correct as far as what it took to become a constant threat on the unusual layouts that have fallen only twice annually on the NASCAR calendar during his career. RELATED: Watkins Glen may produce a wild-card winner "Early on I just remember wanting to take on every challenge as a team that we possibly could to improve to be a bigger threat for the championship," he said. "Back then you had to try to be good everywhere because every track mattered for the championship. It was something that we really pursued heavily. I enjoyed it, even though I didn't grow up road racing a lot." The field of drivers capable of winning on a road course wasn't as deep as today, and the number of teams that expended the extra time and resources was fewer. Drivers such as Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd and Mark Martin thrived. Eventually, Gordon did as well. "We had a team and a car that was capable of being very competitive," Gordon, 44, said. "Especially Ray (Evernham, crew chief), back in those early days when the crew chiefs had more flexibility as to how you could find an edge over the competition, he worked hard on the transmissions, the braking, the set-ups and gave me everything that I needed to go out and push the limits of the car and get a lot out of it. "We started excelling at them." While his team ratcheted up its efforts, Gordon did as well. Before he began his NASCAR career, Gordon said he "was pursuing everything." "If somebody gave me an opportunity to get in a race car or go to a driving school, then I was packing my helmet … and heading that way. I did it up at Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) in Canada. I did it with Skip Barber (driving school) and I think after I started NASCAR I did the one out in Sonoma and I also did the one in Phoenix with Bob Bondurant. … "It was fun to do something different than ovals. I feel like ovals are what I'm best at and have been all the time, but I just was comfortable in going to a road course and doing something unique and different. Luckily I drove for a team that knew how to put good race cars underneath me not only on ovals, but (also) on road courses. That made the learning curve come much easier for me." Gordon has won at every active track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule save one -- Kentucky Speedway, which only came on board as a Sprint Cup venue five seasons ago. He won at tracks no longer on the schedule (Rockingham Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway) as well. Excelling on road courses isn't something he takes lightly as he prepares for his final Watkins Glen start. "I think when you look at the drivers and teams that outsiders look at in our sport of who is at the top of the list, I think if you can add a road course win to it, it separates you from the norm and puts you into an elite group," Gordon said. "When I look at my road-course wins and all the different tracks that I've won at, I think it just kind of adds to the stats of putting me into a unique category that I'm very proud of."