Road Course King Ready for ‘The Glen’
- Aug 06, 2003
- 24 Team
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2003) – As the all-time road course winner and four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion, Jeff Gordon has yet another milestone to reach—winning his fifth race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
In addition, Gordon can become the second active Winston Cup driver to acquire 15,000 laps led, second only to Rusty Wallace who has 19,313.
Leading at least one lap at each track since his inaugural Winston Cup race in 1992, Gordon now sits with 14,917 laps led, or 18,717.637 miles, approximately a trip to Sydney, Australia, and back, or seven trips from Watkins Glen to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Reaching this milestone assures him a place in NASCAR’s record book; however, Gordon will need to control at least 83 of the 90 laps this weekend at Watkins Glen to reach this mark. Since racing there, Gordon has led 160 of the total laps he has ever run at the 2.45-mile track.
Despite the difficult task at hand, he did lead 80 of the 112 laps in the event at Infineon Raceway, another road course, in 1999. Gordon also leads the series in laps led this season with an even 900.
“Leading 160 laps sounds a lot easier than it is, especially on a road course,” Gordon said. “Over time, we`ve gained the confidence to lead laps and win.”
Time and experience have proven to be in favor of Gordon. Through combined efforts at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen, Gordon has led 429 laps, the approximate driving distance from Charlotte, N.C., to Loudon, N.H.
“However, it is not about leading 83 laps, but about leading one—the one at the end,” Gordon said.
The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has ample experience in leading that one important lap, especially at The Glen. As the all-time Winston Cup winner at the track, Gordon has out-maneuvered the rest of the pack four times in 10 starts (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001). In addition, he has recorded six top-fives, along with one pole (1998).
“Each week, we don`t focus on improving our stats, just on staying near the top of the Winston Cup point standings,” Gordon said. “But to reach 15,000 laps led says more about the No. 24 DuPont team than anything. This team has overcome every obstacle in an effort to stay up front and they deserve that mark of achievement.”
After testing last week at Watkins Glen, the No. 24 DuPont team will unload a new chassis geared toward winning yet again.
“A lot of teams have stepped up their road course programs,” Gordon said. “We didn`t run as well as we would have liked here last year, so that is why we decided to use one of our tests. We learned a lot and hopefully it will show in our results Sunday.”