Jeff Gordon never has been a favorite among fans of the late Dale Earnhardt.
At the time Earnhardt died in a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500, Gordon was sneaking up on most of his records and that didn't sit well with fans of The Intimidator, considered by many the greatest driver in NASCAR history.
So there certainly were mixed feelings in Avondale, Ariz., Saturday night when Gordon, winning for the first time since last July, matched Earnhardt's 76 career victories, tying him for sixth on the career win list.
Just as many of those Earnhardt aficionados were working up the proper rage, a Hendrick Motorsports crewman dashed onto pit lane and handed Gordon a flag bearing Earnhardt's famed No. 3.
The four-time NASCAR champion then made a joyous victory lap around the 1-mile oval holding the flag out the window for all to see.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., coming off a disappointing race in which he finished 19th, said he saw Gordon with the flag on one of the track's big screen TVs.
"Congratulations to Jeff. He's a class act and I'm happy for him," Junior said. "I ran over to Victory Lane to shake his hand and let him know."
Gordon said the flag was simply to honor a man and a racer he respected.
Champ -- Sebastien Bourdais raced to his second straight Grand Prix of Houston victory and grabbed the inside track for his fourth consecutive Champ Car title.
Bourdais has won 14 of his last 24 starts. With his victory, the 28-year-old star overtook points leader Will Power in the standings. Power, who started on the pole, damaged the nose wing on his car three times and finished 11th.