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Gordon Eying First Phoenix Win

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 1, 2003) – This weekend, Jeff Gordon will look for his first-ever victory at Phoenix International Raceway, while eying second place in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings. A triumph at one-mile track would mark his third consecutive win in as many weeks.

Phoenix is one of only four tracks where Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has yet to record a win—the others being Texas Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

A win at Phoenix has eluded Gordon, who has 64 career victories at 19 of 23 tracks on the Winston Cup circuit.

Gordon has recorded strong finishes at each track where he has yet to win. In 2002, he captured second at both Texas and Chicagoland, and a respectful fifth-place finish at Homestead.

En route to his best finish at Phoenix, Gordon led 16 laps and finished third last year. In 10 races at the Avondale-based track, he has recorded four top-fives, eight top-10s and has led a total of 65 laps.

“We’ve had solid finishes at each of these tracks,” Gordon said. “That isn’t good enough, though.

“Our team is capable of winning at each and every track. After testing (at Phoenix) last week, we learned a lot that will help us this weekend.”

Heading into Phoenix, Gordon has one thing that many competitors do not—momentum.

After winning back-to-back races at Martinsville, Va., and Atlanta, the DuPont team has the confidence to capture its first win at PIR.

“These past two weeks have really given our team the needed confidence to take on these tracks where we know we can win but haven’t,” Gordon said. “With only three races left, I think we have some more left in us before it’s all over this year.”

After being in contention for the 2003 championship during the first half of the season, Gordon had finishes of 19th or worse in seven of the 10 events following the Pepsi 400 at Daytona Beach, Fla. After the New Hampshire event in September, the downward spiral moved Gordon to sixth in the standings, 633 points behind leader Matt Kenseth.

Since then, Gordon has recorded six top-five finishes, including four consecutive fifth-place finishes, back-to-back wins and a gain of 337 points on Kenseth. Only 38 points behind second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr., Gordon has a legitimate shot to finish second in Winston Cup points by year’s end.

“We fight for a lot of things,” Gordon said. “Number one, we always want to win and we fight to win every race. We’ve had to fight extra hard this season because of all the downfalls we had during the summer.

“Our main focus has been second in points. We’ve made big gains toward that. I guess if there is a miracle, there’s still a possibility.

“We just want to keep doing what we’re doing right now, and that’s putting great race cars out there, communicating well and fighting until the end.”

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