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Gordon Hopes to ‘Tear Up’ Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 21, 2004) – After last Saturday night’s “greatest comeback to second place I’ve ever experienced,” Jeff Gordon now turns his attention to the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway and “tearing up” the new surface.

Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, was involved in two accidents during the first 75 laps at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday.  Down, but not out, Gordon fought back from a lap down to secure a second-place finish and keep Team DuPont’s “Drive for Five” alive.

“It looked like we were going to lose a lot of points at Charlotte, maybe enough to take us out of the championship hunt,” Gordon said.  “But this team didn’t give up and we fought back to finish second—probably the greatest comeback to second I’ve ever experienced.

“It definitely was a confidence booster heading into Martinsville.”

Gordon should not be lacking confidence when it comes to Martinsville Speedway.

In 23 starts at the 0.526-mile short track, he has five victories, five poles, 12 top-fives and 17 top-10s.  He swept both poles and races here in 2003, and has led 683 of 1,500 laps (46 percent) during the past three races.

And it could have been more.

After starting from the pole here in April, Gordon led 180 of the first 272 laps before a piece of concrete came loose in Turn 3, damaging the right-front fender of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

“That was disappointing because we had such a great car,” Gordon said. “It felt like I hit a cinder block.

“The new racing surface is smooth with a lot of grip, but I wish they had waited to make the changes. I thought we had a big edge on the competition under the old conditions.”

Gordon, who on Friday will attempt to become the first driver to snare four consecutive poles at the Virginia track, was more concerned with this event than Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway when he heard about the “Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”

“At Talladega, everybody talks about avoiding the ‘big one,’” Gordon said. “There, it’s one big wreck that collects 17 cars.

“At Martinsville, it’s 17 little wrecks that collect several cars.”

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