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Gordon Ready for Atlanta Challenge

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 18, 2005) – Set to tackle the fourth different qualifying procedure in as many races, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont expect a “tough situation” when the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend.

In an effort to reduce workload and costs for the teams during race weekends, NASCAR introduced impounding procedures at selected events this season.  Atlanta marks the first race where teams will practice and qualify on the same day, with impounding procedures in effect after qualifying on Friday night.

“This is probably one of the toughest situations we’ll face all year,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolets.  “We’ll qualify at night when the track is quick, and then race during the day where the pace will drop off considerably.

“NASCAR allows us to make certain adjustments to the car after our qualifying attempt and before the race, but the adjustments are not nearly enough to be fast in qualifying and fast at the drop of the green flag on Sunday.”

In 25 career starts at the 1.54-mile speedway, Gordon has posted four victories, one pole position, 10 top-fives and 15 top-10s. The four-time Cup champion is familiar with the fastest line around the track as his 975 laps led are the most among active full-time drivers.

“The quick way around the track during qualifying will be on the bottom,” said Gordon, who currently sits fourth in points. “During the race, it seems the groove moves further and further up the track.  That high groove probably won’t be there during Friday’s practice, so we’ll have to build some adjustability into the car.

“We want to qualify well, but our main objective on Friday is to be quick in race setup.”

“Every team is facing the same situation we are,” crew chief Robbie Loomis said. “The obvious goal on Friday is Sunday’s race setup.

“Make no mistake about it, though.  Guns will be blazing during qualifying, as well.”


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