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Gordon Eying Sweep of Golden State Events

FONTANA, Calif. (Sept. 5, 2004) – Is a “Golden” performance in store for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jeff Gordon when the series visits California Speedway this weekend for the Pop Secret 500?

Gordon, a native of Vallejo, Calif., has won both events held in the Golden State this season. In May, he led the most laps en route to his third career victory at California Speedway. At Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway in June, Gordon won the road course event in dominating fashion, leading 92 of the 110 laps.

Gordon, who has clinched a spot in the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup,” has fared well in his home state since he joined NASCAR’s premier division full-time in 1993.

In 20 combined starts at California and Infineon, he has captured seven wins (35 percent), 13 top-fives (65 percent), has led the most laps on nine occasions, and has led 771 of 3,148 laps (24 percent).

“I love racing in California,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets. “Obviously, because of the success we’ve had in this state, but also because of the two areas where we race.

“Sonoma is close to where I grew up, so that gives me a chance to visit with friends. When we visit Fontana, this gives us the chance to visit the second-largest market in the country and the opportunity to bring more fans to NASCAR.”

For the first time in 53 years, NASCAR’s Cup division will not be visiting Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend. While it may be a different venue on different coasts, Gordon hopes his tradition of strong Labor Day weekend performances does not change. In the last nine events held this holiday weekend, Gordon has five wins and seven top-five finishes.

“We’ve had a lot of success at Darlington, but I’m definitely in favor of growing our sport,” Gordon said. “Darlington is still on the schedule, and I don’t look at the date a race falls on as much as what the track means to the sport.

“If any track deserves a second date, it’s California Speedway and the Southern California area. It’s a great race track in a great market. The track has really matured over the years with grooves all over the place.

“But it’s not an easy track to drive.”

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