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Slice of history for Gordon at delayed Atlanta

"I'm just thrilled to be at 85 in the company that I'm with. Bobby and Darryl, and you look at being behind David and Richard, it's something very significant," said Gordon. "Something I'm very proud of. And with the kind of racing that we have right now, though, I gotta say I think we can get free and clear of Bobby, if we have a few more things go our way."

The latest victory - his third of 2011 - puts Gordon through to the Chase based on points rather than clinching based on the fall-back of taking up one of the wildcards for most wins in the season. Kevin Harvick is similarly also now confirmed on points after finishing seventh, while Kurt Busch (fourth place) and Ryan Newman (20th) and now also locked in.

Brad Keselowski's sixth place might be a bit of a let down compared with his run of wins and top three finishes, but it's still good enough to clinch his place (most likely based on the wins wildcard) as well as maintaining his impressive momentum going into the Chase.

Tony Stewart is not yet locked in the Chase but his strong third place at Atlanta has certainly strengthened his hand going into the final pre-Chase race at Richmond on Saturday. This proved to be Stewart's best showing since finishing second at New Hampshire in July, since which time he's had a quite horrible slump that threatened his position in the Championship play-offs.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is also yet to clinch a place in the Chase after managing only 19th this week, but looks likely to do so at Richmond. And Denny Hamlin is now looking in a strong position to claim the final wins wildcard, with none of the other one-race winners (David Regan, Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose) able to finish ahead of him to claim it. However, they could still pull off an upset if any of them were to win at Richmond and become two-time winners; and Clint Bowyer, AJ Allmendinger or Greg Biffle could also crash Hamlin's hopes if they became first-time winners on Saturday night.

But all those Chase calculations are for next weekend. For today, there is just relief that the race was finally able to be run and completed, and that it turned out to be a bit of a corker despite expectations thanks to old pros Gordon and Johnson showing the rest of the field how to have a thrilling battle without having at it at the same time.

Full race results and positions available.




Related Pictures

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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, speaks to the media after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

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