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Gordon Wins Mountain Dew Southern 500

31 August 1997

DARLINGTON, SC - Jeff Gordon became just the second driver in NASCAR Winston Cup history to win The Winston Million after taking the checkers in today's Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

It was a total team effort as the Hendrick Motorsports Rainbow Warriors adjusted on the #24 DuPont Chevrolet all day long to keep Gordon in contention.

Jeff Burton made Gordon work for win as the two made contact on the next-to-the-last lap when Burton tried to pass for the lead. Gordon finished 0.144-second ahead of Burton.

"We slammed and we banged," said Gordon about the final laps. "We put on a heck of a show here. I just can't believe it!!"

Gordon was followed on his victory lap by an armored truck filled with people throwing play money onto the race track while a 24-gun salute was staged in his honor.

With the victory, Gordon also retook the series points lead by 5 points over Mark Martin.

Rounding out the top five were Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott and Ricky Rudd.

The race took 4 hours, 8 minutes, 17 seconds to complete at an average speed of 121.149 mph. There were 9 lead changes among 7 drivers and 11 cautions for a total of 67 laps.

Lori Vizza -- The Auto Channel