DuPont Team Going for Gold at Cali
- Apr 23, 2003
- 24 Team
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 23, 2003) – The No. 24 DuPont team has packed up and headed west for this weekend’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in search of gold.
The team, winners of four NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships and 62 races, hopes that the ‘gold’ comes in the form of a trophy.
With the momentum from his April 13 win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, driver Jeff Gordon enters this weekend’s event looking to continue his ascension up the Winston Cup driver standings. He has gained 12 positions over the last four races and now sits third, 139 championship points behind leader Matt Kenseth.
“It’s such a relief to get a win this early in the season and to place ourselves in a competitive position for the championship,” Gordon said. “I’ve said all year that this DuPont team has been running well, we just needed everything to come together for a victory.
“Our goal right now is consistency and winning a fifth championship. Right now, we’re taking things one race at a time.”
Last year at this time, Gordon had yet to win a race and would not gain his first win until late in the season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In addition, he was only seventh in the championship race at this point last season, 201 markers behind the leader.
“We were inconsistent a lot last year and that’s what loses championships, not wins them,” Gordon said. “It seems like we’ve been running well each week this year, we just didn’t have the finishes early on to prove it. Over the last six races, we’ve consistently finished in the top-10, which has put us in the position to contend for the championship.”
California Speedway has hosted only six Winston Cup races in its history, with Gordon visiting Victory Lane three times—twice as a driver (1997 and 1999) and once as a car owner.
Last year, Gordon’s teammate, Jimmie Johnson, won the Auto Club 500—Gordon’s first win as owner of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet.
“Jimmie’s win last year was an amazing experience,” Gordon said. “It actually felt awkward being in Victory Lane as a car owner and not a driver. We knew that team could do it, but I was a little surprised it came so early in the season.”
Gordon has a record of success at the Fontana, Calif., race track. In addition to his two wins, he started on the pole in 1998, has four top-five finishes and a worst finish of 16th at the 2-mile D-shaped oval.
Gordon leads the series with a 5.8 average finish at California Speedway.