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Gordon Hopes to Bolster Résumé

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 7, 2002)—Jeff Gordon has two more chances in 2002 to extend a record he currently holds.

Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, has NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories at 19 of the 23 tracks currently on the schedule, a record among active drivers.

The tracks where Gordon has yet to win in a Winston Cup car are Texas Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. This Sunday, he can eliminate Phoenix from that list if he captures a victory in the 312-mile Checker Auto Parts 500.

“Phoenix hasn’t been our best track,” Gordon said. “Usually, we test elsewhere because there is only one race here and it’s located out west. But we decided to test here last week and we learned a lot.

“With one end of the track flat and the other banked, it’s a tough place to set up the car for both ends. You may have to give up a little off one corner to gain an advantage in another.”

In nine Winston Cup starts at the one-mile track, Gordon has three top-fives, seven top-10s and 49 laps led. He does have one NASCAR victory at the track—a NASCAR Busch Series win in 1999.

Gordon also has a Busch Series victory at Miami, along with two top-10 finishes in three Winston Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval.

“Last year was unfortunate because we messed up the front fender when I got into someone on pit road,” Gordon said. “We finished 28th, but I thought we really had something for them before the damage.

“With the championship out of reach this year, we’re really looking to build momentum for next year. I compare what we can do in these last few races to what we did in 2000. Robbie Loomis became crew chief in 2000 and we struggled through the first part of the year. We used the races toward the end of the season to set the tempo for our championship year of 2001.

“One or two wins to finish off the year won’t help the bitter taste in our mouths as we watch someone else accept the championship trophy in New York, but it certainly sets the tone for the off-season and next year’s championship.”

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