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Gordon Hopes New Car Provides Results

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 19, 2002)—When it came to their road course program, Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont team have followed the same old saying for five years—“If it ain`t broke, don`t fix it.”

Each of Gordon`s seven NASCAR Winston Cup Series road course victories came in the same car, rolling off six straight wins starting at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 1997.

The streak was broken in 2000 with a 23rd-place finish at the same track, followed by a 2001 third-place showing at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., but the car won its final race at Watkins Glen in 2001, giving Gordon his seventh win in the last nine road course events and the Winston Cup record for career road course victories.

Despite the car`s phenomenal performance, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet feels that the competition may have caught up with him.

“That`s why we decided to build a new car,” said Gordon who has three wins, three poles and six top-five finishes in nine Winston Cup starts at Sears Point. “We had one car that won all those races and was so good that we were afraid to change it—afraid to do anything different.

“As a matter of fact, I tested that car against a new car a couple of years ago and liked it better than the new car. So we stayed with that older car. But once we ran those races, we realized we weren`t the best car.

“We won at Watkins Glen last year, but mainly because Robby (Gordon) fell out. So we built a brand new car and tested it at VIR (Virginia International Raceway). It was fast and we`re happy with it. We`re hoping to gain something with it.

“The first time you go to a road course, you think you`ll never be able to win one. All of a sudden you start clicking and getting comfortable with shifting and braking and all of those types of things. And then you find yourself in victory lane.”

With five consecutive top-10 finishes, Gordon has also raced his way into second-place in the Winston Cup point standings, tied with teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet. The two are only 110 points behind leader Sterling Marlin.

“To be where we are right now and not have any wins is amazing,” said Gordon. “We`ve been in position to win several races this year, but we`ve run into some bad luck and things haven`t fallen our way. But, we`ve still managed to get some good finishes and it shouldn`t be long until (we) will roll into victory lane again.”

If this new car is anything like the old one, it should carry Gordon to the front of the pack at Sears Point this Sunday, but the team knows if something happens to it, they have a reliable backup.

“We`re taking it with us,” Gordon said of his seven-victory machine. “And with that car`s history, I`m sure there are probably 40 teams out there this weekend that would love to have it as their primary car.”


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