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Gordon Seeking Another Turnaround at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2003) – The second half of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season has proven to be less than spectacular for the No. 24 DuPont team, but all that could change under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Only a year ago, Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, was enduring a highly publicized 31-race losing streak. At that point, Gordon was considered out of the points race and struggling to maintain his fifth-place standing.

After winning the 2002 Sharpie 500—Gordon’s first win at Bristol’s night race and first win of the 2002 season—he went on to win at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway the following weekend.

Sweeping two races in a row, Gordon charged to second in the Winston Cup championship standings. He was no longer out of the race and once again was considered by many to be the man to beat.

“Before Bristol last year, we were unable to get everything to fall into place,” Gordon said. “But once we took that checkered flag, it seemed like the team’s confidence accelerated our performance throughout the remainder of the year.

“That is what we are hoping to do again at Bristol. We’ve had a rough couple of weeks with good performances but poor finishes. Bristol can be the place to turn things around as it did for us last year.”

With 21 career starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gordon has five wins (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002), two poles (both in 2002), 10 top-fives, 14 top-10s and has led 2,091 laps.

A key to success at the .533-mile oval is keeping the fenders intact, something Gordon never had to worry about early on in his career. He mastered the art of short tracks in his days of open-wheel sprint-car racing.

“I kind of grew up on Winchester and Salem and some of these high-speed tracks, ” Gordon said. “I’ve always liked the high-speed, high-banked, half-mile or quarter-mile tracks.

“You just go out there and go as fast as you can through the corner and that’s what matters most.”

For the Food City 500 in March, Gordon qualified second and led a total of 174 laps. After missing pit road, he completed 499 of the 500 laps and finished ninth.

“Our performance earlier this spring was not indicative of our capabilities,” Gordon said. “The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has the potential to win Bristol’s night race again this year. We just need to remain focused and stay up front.”

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