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Gordon Taking California Confidence to Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 18, 2004) – Even with three wins at Infineon Raceway, it’s not the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at the Sonoma, Calif., road course that has Jeff Gordon doing some California dreaming.

It’s memories of his third win at the California Speedway earlier this year that have the four-time champion’s sights set on a third win at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday.

Although Gordon describes Michigan as “unique,” if there is another track that’s similar, he believes it is California Speedway.  After winning his third race of the season there in May, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets wants a similar result at Michigan in the DHL 400.

“There’s not too many tracks we visit that are like Michigan—it’s unique,” said Gordon, a 66-time winner in NASCAR’s premier series.  “California Speedway is not the same, but it’s the closest, and we’ll use a lot of our notes from that track here this weekend.”

In 22 career starts at the two-mile Michigan track, Gordon has two victories, 14 top-fives, 16 top-10s and an 8.0 average finish.  His first victory occurred during his record-tying 13-victory championship season of 1998.

Gordon’s only other victory at the facility—which marked Hendrick Motorsports’ 100th Cup Series win—was during his 2001 championship season.

In 11 June events at MIS, Gordon has failed to complete just one lap (2,193 of 2,194) and has an average finish of 5.0.  In eight starts at California, he has completed all but one lap and has a 5.9 average result.

In addition to using the notes from California, Gordon will also race the same chassis this weekend.  Car No. 2479 has visited Victory Lane twice (California in 2004 and Atlanta in 2003) and has carried Gordon to five top-five finishes in seven starts.

“This is a great race car, one that seems to work well on mile-and-a-half tracks and two-mile tracks,” Gordon said.  “But it takes the complete package to win in the NEXTEL Cup Series these days, and fuel mileage is part of that equation.  It seems more and more races come down to who has the best fuel mileage.

“Last weekend at Pocono, we weren’t that good on gas mileage and I think that played a role in us not contending for the win at the end of the race.

“At California, we were able to stretch our fuel mileage and win the event.  We stretched it just far enough for me to run out while I was doing my burnout and the crew had to push the car to Victory Lane.

“I expect fuel mileage will play a determining factor in the outcome of Sunday’s race.  And I don’t think the DuPont crew would mind if they had to push the car to Victory Lane again.”

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