Bojangles' Southern 500: In 700th start, Jeff Gordon nets historic top-five

Todd Warshaw

On the night he started his 700th career race, Jeff Gordon made history with his third-place finish.

Regardless of where he finished, Saturday's NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway was always going to be a landmark moment for Jeff Gordon, as the Southern 500 represented his 700th career Sprint Cup start.

But appropriately on a track that holds much meaning to the seven-time Darlington winner, he was able to produce one of his better showings of the season.

"We've known for some time that this should be where it should happen," Gordon said post-race. "I thought that was very cool. I think, looking back throughout my career, this track has been one of the best for me, a very special place. Holds so much history for this sport.

"To have the seven wins here, I couldn't think of a better place to come to and get the 700th start. Then to go out there and have a strong performance, it felt great."

His performance included taking the lead during the middle portion, which for a brief time had many wondering if this was going to be a storybook night for Gordon.

But the ever-changing track conditions and a race that become more about track-position than anything else worked against the driver of the No. 24 car, and he placed third.

However, by finishing third Gordon triggered yet another milestone in his storied career.

The result was the 300th time he had finished a Cup race in the top five -- only the fourth driver in history to achieve such an honor.

"Top three, that's fantastic," Gordon said. "I mean, we needed this kind of performance, a gutsy performance, for the points as well as to make this one memorable."

More from SB Nation:

Complete coverage of the Players Championship

Spending draft night with an NFL free agent

Longform: How Paul George evolved into a star

Who will Mayweather fight next?

Orb wins the Kentucky Derby | Video: Orb storms down the stretch

2014 NFL mock draft: Who gets Clowney?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.