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Gordon Eyes Streak at Michigan

 

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 15, 2002)—The drive-for-five is still alive in Jeff Gordon’s mind. He just needs to capitalize on some opportunities.

Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, enters this Sunday’s Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway fifth in the point standings, 106 behind leader Sterling Marlin.

In the June race at Michigan, Gordon fought back from a lap down to finish fifth and headed for the next race only 110 points down to Marlin. In seven races since, he has only two top-10 finishes, yet has gained points on Marlin during that span.

“We’ve had some opportunities to gain a bunch of points and haven’t,” Gordon said. “Sterling hasn’t been burning up the track with great finishes recently, but nobody else has either.

“It’s disappointing we didn’t finish better than we did at Watkins Glen. That’s a place where we’ve always seemed to run well and have good finishes.

“We can’t do anything about that now, so we’ll concentrate on this weekend.”

Gordon and the No. 24 crew will now focus their energy on Michigan, a track where the DuPont Motorsports team has run well. In 19 events at the 2-mile speedway, Gordon has two wins, three poles, 13 top fives and 15 top 10s, with only one finish outside the top 15.

“I love racing at Michigan,” Gordon said. “The track is so wide that you can race on the top and the bottom and anywhere in between. You can hunt for different lines to pass.”

If Gordon passes under the checkered flag Sunday, he will set a modern-era record (1972 - present) for consecutive finishes without a DNF (did not finish). He has been running at the end of 53 consecutive races, tying him with the late Dale Earnhardt. Gordon’s last DNF was Darlington in March of 2001.

“That sort of consistency wins championships,” Gordon said. “The engines have been strong and durable and the cars have been reliable. When we’ve been involved in accidents, the crew guys have worked their tails off to get the car back on the track.

“While it’s great that we’ve been consistent, right now I’m just looking for a win.”

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