Gordon Carries Kansas Confidence to Chicago
- Jul 12, 2003
- 24 Team
JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2003) – Jeff Gordon hopes he’s the one who ends the reign of Kevin Harvick this Sunday in the Tropicana 400. Harvick is two-for-two at the 1.5-mile track, winning every NASCAR Winston Cup Series event ever held there.
Gordon, the only Winston Cup winner in Kansas Speedway’s history, knows he is one of 42 drivers looking to de-throne Harvick.
Although separated by 500 miles, Chicagoland is similar to Kansas in layout and length. Each track has had only one Winston Cup winner in their two-year history and Gordon hopes the similarities between the two translate into his first trip to Victory Lane at the Joliet-based track, one of only two venues where a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy has never won.
“I’ve raced well both times, but unfortunately our DuPont Chevrolet had motor troubles in 2001,” said Gordon, who finished 17th in 2001 and second in 2002. “Last year, I thought our car was just as good here as it’s been in Kansas City. We just didn’t get the track position at the end to get the lead and the win.
“They’re similar, but Chicago is a little faster with a little more banking. The setups are close but not exact, and the way you drive them is similar but not exact.”
Gordon has captured victories at 19 of the 23 tracks currently on the NASCAR schedule—a Winston Cup record. Along with Chicago, he has yet to win at Phoenix, Texas and Miami.
“Winning at every track is something I’d like to do, but if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen,” Gordon said. “That’s certainly not as important to me as winning a championship or winning races.
“It’s so hard to win these days that you don’t pick and choose where you want to win. It’s hard to put more emphasis on winning at one track over another, you just try to win at all of them.”
The four-time Winston Cup champion sits third in the point standings, 203 behind leader Matt Kenseth, but don’t expect him to make a risky move just to add Chicagoland to his résumé.
“When you’re racing for a championship, you have to pick and choose when you’re going to be risky and when you’re not,” Gordon said. “At Sears Point, I could’ve taken some risks to make a move on Robby Gordon and possibly win. I tried to weigh the risk versus gain and I didn’t think it was worth it because I could have lost second place.
“We’re not in a position where we can conserve, so we have to push and try to get top-fives and wins. Since we’ve won at Kansas and it’s so similar to Chicago, I know we can win here.
“I’d like to get that notch on our belt.”
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- Jul 10, 2004