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Duel victory gives No. 24 power boost

Jeff Gordon's Duel win comes with an asterisk, but he'll take it. The four-time champ's first trip to Victory Lane since October 2007 was long overdue.

Updated: February 13, 2009, 1:01 PM ET
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeff Gordon is kind of, sort of, part of the way back.

Thursday's first 150-mile qualifying race for Sunday's Daytona 500 wasn't a points race. Gordon still has gone 41 of those without a win.

But the qualifier was a win for Gordon, his first in 45 Cup starts, counting points and non-points races, dating back to October 2007.

"Any win is exciting and meaningful to us right now," Gordon said after outdueling Tony Stewart on the last three laps of the first ...

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