News & Media


Gordon gets jump start on his Atlanta title defense

August 24, 2012, Official Release, NASCAR.com

In advance of the Advocare 500 on Sept. 2 Jeff Gordon was as an official starter for a dolphin race at the Georgia Aquarium.

Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon calls Atlanta Motor Speedway one of his favorite tracks on the entire circuit, and for good reason. The four-time series champion owns five victories at the Hampton, Ga., facility, including last year which earned him his 85th-career checkered flag. This year's race will be the 20th anniversary since making his series debut on November 15, 1992 (finishing 31st).

On Thursday, the Hendrick Motorsports driver was back in Atlanta getting a jump start on his goal of winning consecutive races. The driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet was in town participating in an interactive event at the Georgia Aquarium to help promote the AdvoCare 500 scheduled to take place September 2 under the lights at AMS.

The four-time series champion served as the official starter in a competitive race between a pair of the aquarium's resident Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, affectionately nicknamed "Jimmie" and "Dale." The race, which lasted approximately five seconds and ended up being a photo finish, was so close, that Gordon had to call on spectators to help him determine the fastest dolphin. "Jimmie" was ultimately dubbed the winner and was awarded a gold trophy full of fish for his win, with Gordon presenting the mammal with the first seafood offering.

While Gordon would rather not have next Sunday's race come down to a photo finish, as he's currently on the outside looking in on the final wild card berth for the Chase for the Sprint Cup with three regular season races remaining, he'll take a victory any way he can if it propels him into the NASCAR playoffs. A win would also tie him with Bobby Labonte for the most series wins (six) at AMS among active drivers.

"I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love Atlanta is the track does have a lot of grip, a lot of banking, a very fast race track, especially when you look at the qualifying speeds," said Gordon. "So I know it's a favorite of mine for all those reasons, and that's the case for a lot of other drivers."

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