Aug 6, 2002 11:00 AM

After 29 straight races without a win, Jeff Gordon may finally find relief when NASCAR’s Winston Cup series visits the Watkins Glen International Road Course this Sunday.

The reigning four-time Winston Cup champion has gone almost an entire year without a victory which is the longest drought of his career. His last victory occurred last September at Kansas Speedway.

Though it hasn’t been a terrible year for Gordon considering he currently sits 125 points behind the leader in fourth place, it’s still not the type of Gordon-like dominance we’re all accustomed to seeing.

During Gordon’s extraordinary 10-year career, he has amassed 58 victories which is by far the most over that span. Of those 58 victories, seven have come on road courses. Due to Gordon’s unusual slump over the last 29 races, value can be had wagering on Gordon this week at Watkins Glen. Gordon once again opens as the favorite this week, but his 5-2 odds are the lowest offered on the roads in six years.

Starting in ’95 and through his entire run as the top driver in the series, it wasn’t uncommon to see Gordon at 3-1 or less for all tracks. When his super trend of dominance started on the road courses in ’97, that ended any chance of seeing anything over 2-1 for the next five years.

At Sears Point a few weeks ago Gordon was 9-5, but on average for the 2002 campaign Âí­Gordon has been 7-1, The slump creates opportunities in match-ups. Station Casinos sports books are offering Gordon in a road course matchup for the first time in three years.

"He’s just been too tough to match anybody against over that span," says Green Valley Ranch’s Kelly Downey. "It didn’t matter who we matched him up against before and what the price was, we’d still get sided on Gordon."

The idea is to get two way action and tempt the player to bet the driver matched up against him. Even if you made him a —200 favorite against the second odds on favorite to win, the value was still with Gordon considering his odds to win were in the area on 3-2.

This week Gordon is matched up against Tony Stewart who is the second choice to win at 4-1. Gordon is a —140 favorite in the matchup, which appears to be a good price considering Stewart may be almost as good on the roads as this stage of their careers. If that were the matchup in the last four road course races, Stewart would have won three times.

The list of probable candidates to win on a road course is a short one if going by PG time, which is the "Present-Gordon" era that started in ’97. Only Stewart, Steve Park (40-1), and Ricky Rudd (8-1) have managed victories other than Gordon in that era.

Prior to Gordon’s reign, the roads were dominated by Rudd, Terry Labonte (40-1), Rusty Wallace (10-1), and Mark Martin (7-1). The quartet combined for 15 victories on road courses. Other than Rudd, the veterans should be good prospects in matchups and possible systematic odds to win selections.

The hottest veteran of all currently is Bill Âí­Elliott (15-1). Elliott has won the last two races in dominating fashion at Pocono and Indianapolis. His road course record consists of one win at Riverside in 1983. Three straight wins for Elliott would be nothing new for him.



1) #24  

 Jeff Gordon  


2) #31  

 Robby Gordon  


3) #20  

 Tony Stewart  


4) #41  

 Scott Pruett  


5) #6  

 Mark Martin