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Unfinished Business: Gordon Looks to New Hampshire

LOUDON, N.H. (July 22, 2004) – Jeff Gordon has some unfinished business at New Hampshire International Speedway.

When the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits the New England oval for this weekend’s 300-lap event, the four-time champion wants to tie a record and then finish what he started last year.

Gordon, who has won four consecutive poles in NASCAR’s top division, will look to capture his fifth straight on Friday.  If he does, Gordon will tie a modern-era record (1972 - present) currently held by Cale Yarborough and Bobby Allison.  Yarborough won five consecutive poles in 1980 while Allison won five straight in 1972.

“This streak is pretty amazing considering how competitive our sport is right now,” Gordon said.  “It will be tough because this track is such a challenging, flat track.

“Our first challenge will be to get through qualifying on Friday.”

Next on the agenda will be the race on Sunday.  In two events at NHIS last year, Gordon posted finishes of 24th and 19th.  Neither finish was indicative of how well he actually ran.

“I thought we had the car to beat during the first event last year,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets.  “In fact, it was one of the best cars I’ve ever had here.

“We didn’t pit with about 100 to go because we weren’t in our fuel window, yet.  Other teams did pit, and many of them made it to the end.

“When we made our final stop, I restarted so deep in the field that I used up my car battling for 20th.”

In the September event held here, Gordon was running second when he visited pit road—for what was supposed to be his final stop—for a “splash” of gas on Lap 276.  After the completion of pit stops, he had once again moved up to second before running out of gas two laps from the end.

He finished one lap down after coasting onto pit road on the white flag lap.

“Those two races were disappointing, but hopefully we’ve learned from them,” Gordon said.  “We haven’t had the finishes we would have liked here recently, and we need to turn that around.”

In eight events from 1997 to 2001 at the 1.058-mile track, Gordon won two times and finished no worse than sixth.  In five races since, he has not finished higher than 14th.

Overall, Gordon has three wins, eight top-fives and 10 top-10s in 18 starts at New Hampshire, while leading the most laps in six events and pacing 1,046 laps total—the most of any driver.  He has won three poles and has a 9.7 average starting position.

“There are a lot of ups and downs in our sport,” Gordon said.  “Right now, we’re riding the ‘qualifying wave’ for all it’s worth.  As for racing at NHIS, I guess we found the wave we were looking for.

“We just need to ride it to the end this time.”

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