Recharged Gordon Going for Martinsville Three-Peat
- Apr 13, 2004
- 24 Team
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 13, 2004) – The alternator drained the primary battery on Jeff Gordon’s DuPont Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway, along with hopes for his first victory of the season.
However, a third-place finish at Texas and a weekend off has Gordon recharged and ready to contend for a three-peat at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday.
In 2003, Gordon swept both races, capturing a pair of pole positions and posting two victories while leading 503 of a possible 1,000 laps. In 22 starts at the .526-mile track, he has five wins, four poles, 12 top-fives and 16 top-10s.
He has also started in the top five in the last seven races at the short track.
“I love Martinsville, because I run well there,” Gordon said. “I pretty much grew up on short tracks and I really enjoy short-track competition. I think we need to have short tracks on our schedule—it offers the excitement that fans love to see.
“The track itself is tough to figure out and it’s a little bit different tire. Having good brakes is extremely important. That’s one area where we’ve drastically improved since Robbie Loomis (crew chief) has come on board.”
The DuPont team is no stranger to the three-peat. Along with three victories from the pole at Infineon Raceway (1997-1999), Gordon has also seen three consecutive wins at Darlington, S.C., (fall 1995-1996), Dover, Del., (fall 1995-1996) and Watkins Glen, N.Y., (1997-1999).
“I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the record books,” Gordon said. “But after the last few years, it’s not surprising that Martinsville is up there with places like Sonoma and Darlington as a place where we could win three consecutive races.
“The competition is so tough these days—we’re happy with a one-peat, let alone a three-peat.”
Despite his five top-10s and a ninth-place position in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, it has still been a less-than Gordon-like beginning to the 2004 season.
Critics have been eager to say that Gordon and the No. 24 team have lost their focus.
“Our team is as strong as ever, we just haven’t been able to capitalize a whole lot this season,” Gordon said. “It’s a long season but I know we’re a team that works hard and we know what we’re capable of.
“We’re happy to get some momentum from Texas and take it to a track like Martinsville and get the critics off our back a little bit. We’ll go to Martinsville and hopefully put it to these guys.”