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Gordon’s Birthday Wish: A Fourth Brickyard Win

 

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Aug. 6, 2004) – Jeff Gordon’s first NASCAR Cup Series victory, which occurred at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1994, was special.  His second victory—the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway—was “mind-boggling.”

Now, 10 years and 68 career victories later, he is looking for “icing on the cake.”

Gordon, who has moved up to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings after posting six top-five finishes in the last seven races, enters Sunday’s Brickyard 400 with momentum on his side—and one more candle on his birthday cake.

The driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets celebrated his 33rd birthday Wednesday, and he would like nothing more than to top the week off with a trip to Victory Lane at Indy.

“I always enjoy this time of year,” said Gordon, the only three-time Brickyard 400 winner.  “Another birthday for me can only mean the Brickyard 400 is right around the corner, and I look forward to this event every year.

“I guess this track means so much to me because I remember coming here as a kid, visiting the museum and touring the track in a bus.  This track was where all my heroes raced when I was growing up.

“When I made the move from open-wheeled cars to stock cars, I thought I had lost my chance to race here.  To finally get that chance was a dream come true.

“I can’t even describe the atmosphere here for the inaugural race in 1994.  It was just incredible.  And then to go out and win the event was mind-boggling.

“I know I’ll never be able to accomplish anything greater than winning that race.”

In 10 events held at the 2.5-mile speedway, Gordon has three wins, three poles, six top-fives and eight top-10s.  He has led at least one lap in eight events for a total of 309 laps, the most of any driver.

Although Gordon is the all-time leader in poles at the Brickyard, he has started 19th or worse in the last four races.  In July, Team DuPont tested here with an emphasis on qualifying.

“We really focused on our qualifying setup during the test because we need to improve in that area,” Gordon said.  “To me, this is one of the hardest places to win a pole.  You have to be very aggressive, and the car and horsepower have to be right.

“I feel our test was one of the better ones we’ve had here.”

Gordon has a chance to join Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., and A.J. Foyt as the only four-time winners in the 94-year history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  But Gordon knows that you can never compare the Brickyard 400 to the Indianapolis 500.

“We’re at the same track, but the two races have different histories with different race cars,” Gordon said.  “No matter what I’m able to accomplish here, I don’t think I will ever be able to compare myself to those guys.

“I’m focused on what I can do as a stock car driver. I’m focused on winning another Brickyard 400.”

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