Sylvania 300 Notebook: Gordon, Boyer's work makes many take notice

Paul Ring

"Except for having a baby, that is the greatest feeling,"

Jeff Gordon said, recalling his first victory. Like Clint Bowyer, he started

from the pole and dominated the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowe's Motor

Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.

Gordon, a newly minted father, started his 500th NASCAR Nextel Cup race

yesterday.

"If you are going to win the first one of the year, that's the time to do

it," Gordon said. "I think everybody is happy for Clint. When we were up in

New York for the Nextel Cup media day, it seemed like everyone was like

'Clint Bowyer, he doesn't have a shot at the championship.' "

Gordon said Bowyer's pole and victory in yesterday's Sylvania 300 at NHIS

should make people stand up and take notice. "I think today was a real

statement for him," Gordon said, "and I think it just proves that anybody in

the top 12 can win this championship."

Sorenson could have led more

Reed Sorenson led one lap yesterday, but he felt like he could have led

more. "It was probably the best Car of Tomorrow car we've had," he said. "We

just need the front end to turn a little better."

At one point the rear end turned a little too much and the car "got loose

and spun," Sorenson said. "We got our car so loose in just trying to get it

to turn that we were passing Casey Mears for second and just spun out."

Car of Tomorrow

As the first season with the Car of Tomorrow nears its end, there are still

some detractors, like Kyle Busch. After some difficult laps early in the

race, he was able to regroup and finish fourth.

"That's just the COT," he said. "They're always evil. We were still trying

to make it better. I guess it just doesn't fit my driving style or

whatever."

It's not lack of effort that has soured the younger Busch to the future of

the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, it's lack of results.

"I'm trying to get accustomed to it," Busch said, "and we're trying to get

it accustomed to me. We're going to go to Dover next week and hopefully have

another good run and then go to Kansas and then to Talladega and see what it

brings us.

Chase drivers rule

Apparently Matt Kenseth was more surprised at a reporter's question than the

fact that the top-seven finishers were Chase drivers. "No," he said.

"They're the top-12 in points and probably got there for running good, so

that doesn't surprise me."

How will the this race affect next week?

"We can strategize it to death," an exasperated Kenseth said, "but the

winner got the most points today. The guy who ran second got the second-most

and so on and so forth. We did the best we could today and that's all we can

do any week."

For the record, Kenseth finished seventh.