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Gordon Could Factor into ‘Chase’ at Richmond

 

RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 8, 2004) – While the focus will be on the drivers fighting for the final transfer spot into the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup” during this Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Jeff Gordon may be a factor in determining who is in the “Chase”—and who is out.

After Saturday night’s event, the top-10 drivers and those within 400 points of the lead will have their tallies reset with five points separating each position.  Gordon currently sits second in the standings, 50 out of first and 399 ahead of 11th.

If points leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson should have problems during the 400-lap event, it would be up to Gordon to finish well to help ensure only 10 drivers advance.

“There is a chance more than 10 drivers could be within 400 points and transfer into the ‘Chase,’” Gordon said. “I’m sure the fans would love to see that. As a competitor, though, the fewer teams we have to battle for the championship the better.

“This format is great for the fans. I’d love to be a spectator at the race or watching it on TV to see it all unfold.

“But we’re not going to worry about what those teams are doing. This DuPont team will focus on what we can control, and that’s getting the best possible finish and doing our best to make sure only 10 teams advance.”

No matter the outcome of the race, Gordon is guaranteed to gain on the points lead.

With a 156-point swing in one race possible (190 for first and leading the most laps versus 34 for finishing last), he could exit with the points lead, or fall to as low as fourth. Even if he falls to fourth, Gordon would trail the leader by only 15 points due to the points being reset after the event, a gain of 35 over his current position entering Richmond.

In 23 races at RIR, Gordon has two wins, four poles, nine top-fives and 15 top-10s. He has an average starting position of 6.7 and an average finish of 13.6.

“We had a good run here in the spring (finished sixth), but we were just a little bit off all night,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, we can correct that and be there at the end.”

A win on Saturday night would be the 70th of Gordon’s career, and give the No. 24 DuPont team confidence down the stretch.

“I want the spotlight to be on us as we enter those final 10 races,” Gordon said. “I want the other teams to worry about us.

“If they’re concerned with what we’re doing, they won’t be focused on themselves.”

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