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Unique Challenges Await Team DuPont at Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2005) – It is the same track and the same layout where he has visited Victory Lane three times in his 13-year NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career, but Jeff Gordon expects new challenges during this weekend’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.

At the beginning of the 2005 season, NASCAR instituted a single-gear rule for all participating teams at specified events. With Pocono being one of those, it has eliminated the possibility of shifting gears several times per lap at the 2.5-mile track.

“When I began racing here in 1993, we shifted into ‘overdrive’ on the frontstretch and downshifted as we headed into Turn 1,” Gordon said.  “A few years later, we found a great combination that also allowed us to shift on the straightaway between Turn 1 and the ‘tunnel turn.’

“With this new rule, we won’t be shifting anymore and it has created some unique challenges.”

Pocono is distinct with its three very different corners that vary in length, radius and banking, but Gordon and Team DuPont have experienced success even with the tricky layout.

Along with three wins, Gordon has two poles, 12 top-fives and 17 top-10s in 24 career starts.  He averages a 10th-place finish and a starting position of 9.5.  Gordon has also led a NEXTEL Cup record 841 laps at the Pennsylvania track.

“Pocono has always been about compromise,” Gordon said.  “With the three differing corners, if you made an adjustment to handle better at one end it might hurt you in another corner.  But our focus was always to get the car to handle well off Turn 3 to carry momentum down the long frontstretch.

“The key once again will be handling in Turn 3.  Since we won’t be shifting, the drop in rpm level—because of the gear rule—will be most noticeable off that corner.

“Carrying momentum off that corner will be crucial.”

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