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Gordon Optimistic About Second Consecutive Atlanta Win

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 10, 2004) – Weather may have ruined Jeff Gordon’s scheduled test at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week, but not his optimism as Team DuPont prepares for this Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 and consecutive victories at Atlanta.

In October, Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, held off a hard-charging Tony Stewart at Atlanta to capture his 64th career victory in the No. 24 Chevrolet.  A spirited duel with teammate Jimmie Johnson also highlighted the race.

With less than 100 laps remaining, Gordon and Johnson were battling for third position.  The duo swapped positions six times over eight laps before Gordon was able to take the spot and set his sights on the lead.

“I knew how good Jimmie’s car was, and he knew how good my car was,” Gordon said.  “I felt like I had to race him hard for that position if I was going to have a shot at the victory.

“Tony was charging hard at the end, but my crew did a great job on the last green-flag pit stop and I was able to hold him off for the win.”

In the last 11 races at Atlanta, Gordon has three wins and nine top-10s.  In the past five races, though, he has posted only one top-10 qualifying effort.

“We were going to test here last week but couldn’t because of the weather,” Gordon said.  “We really needed to work on our qualifying setup.

“Atlanta is ‘white-knuckle’ on qualifying day.  You don’t have much of a choice.  You run around the bottom as fast as you possibly can.”

In 23 career starts at the 1.54-mile quad-oval, Gordon has four wins, one pole, 10 top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes.  He has led at least one lap in 15 events and is 63 laps shy of 1,000 laps-led at Atlanta.

“On race day, this track is one of the best,” Gordon said.  “It’s comfortable, fun and exciting.  You can run on the bottom, in the middle or at the top of the track searching for a line that works best for you.

“We’ll start with a similar race setup that we’ve used before and massage it from there.”

He hopes it leads to similar results.


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