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Gordon Aiming for Victory, 200th Top-10 at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 14, 2002)—In last season’s first event at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Jeff Gordon gave Hendrick Motorsports its 100th NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory.

This year, he’ll be gunning for a milestone of a different sort.

If Gordon’s Monte Carlo is one of the first 10 cars across the Michigan finish line, it will be his 200th career top 10 in Winston Cup competition in only 308 starts. Overall, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has four Winston Cup championships, 58 wins, 41 poles and 151 top fives.

“It’s hard to imagine that we’ve got that many top-10s,” said Gordon. “It just goes to show how consistent this team has been over the years.

“I think it’s a pretty good testament to how hard we’ve worked.”

The defending race champion and two-time winner at Michigan likes his chances of achieving the milestone at one of his favorite tracks on the Winston Cup circuit.

“I’ve always liked Michigan because of how wide it is and the different grooves on the track,” said Gordon, the defending Winston Cup champion. “It allows you to run high or low depending on how well your car is handling.”

Along with his two victories in 18 starts at the two-mile D-shaped speedway, Gordon has 12 top fives and 14 top 10s, including five runner-up finishes. He also has completed all but one lap in the nine June events here (1,793 of 1,794).

“I really feel like we should have four or five wins here rather than two,” said Gordon. “But, we’ve still had a lot of success here.”

He dominated last year’s event, leading 143 of 200 laps, and managed to overcome some late-race drama with Ricky Rudd to capture the 100th Winston Cup victory for Hendrick Motorsports. Rudd and Gordon swapped the lead twice on the final two laps.

“I really thought he had me,” said Gordon. “When that No. 28 car gets a sniff of you and gets a draft going, you better make your car extra wide.”

So far in 2002, Gordon has nine top-10s including his current streak of four in a row. Currently, he is third in the Winston Cup driver standings, 165 behind leader Sterling Marlin who is also strong at Michigan.

“I’m happy with our current streak of finishes, but we need to turn those into wins and top fives if we want to stay in the thick of the championship chase.

“It will take another run like last year to pick up any points on Sterling here. I think the key will be getting up front and into clean air. If that happens, I think we should be able to separate ourselves from most of the field.

“I’d like for that 200th top-10 to be my 59th victory.”

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