Three Sprint Cup Series drivers will hit milestone starts this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
With his fill-in role at Hendrick Motorsports continuing for at least another two weeks, four-time series champion Jeff Gordon will make his 800th career start in the Cheez-It 355 on Sunday afternoon. He will be the ninth driver to reach the mark.
Gordon had retired at the end of the 2015 season with 797 starts under his belt. Last month, he was called upon to fill the seat of the No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., and has since made two additional starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway.
In 799 starts, Gordon has competed in 25 different seasons and earned 93 career wins. He was the 1993 Rookie of the Year and earned championships in 1995, 97, 98, and 2001. A nine-time road course winner, Gordon’s last victory at Watkins Glen occurred in 2001.
Another champion, Matt Kenseth will make his 600th career start at Watkins Glen.
Kenseth will be the 25th driver to hit 600 starts after competing in 19 different seasons. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has 38 career wins and was crowned the 2000 Rookie of the Year. Kenseth has won twice in 2016, but he enters Watkins Glen looking for his first road course victory.
Both Gordon and Kenseth will be chasing Richard Petty this weekend. Petty is the only driver to be victorious in both his 600th and 800th start.
And finally, Michael McDowell will make his 200th career start his weekend. The Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing driver has competed in nine different seasons, but none full-time. In 199 career starts, McDowell has three top-10 finishes, with a career-best seventh coming in the July race at Daytona in 2014.