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Gordon Hopes to Excel at California

FONTANA, Calif. (Sept. 3, 2005) – After posting a sixth-place finish at Bristol, Tenn., last weekend and moving into the 10th and final transfer spot in the championship standings, Jeff Gordon expects to feel pressure during the final two races before the field is set for the 2005 “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”

Dealing with that pressure is something the four-time champion believes he does well.

As the series heads west for Sunday’s event at California Speedway, Gordon is only 20 markers out of ninth and another 30 behind eighth. But positions 11 through 13 in the standings are right on his heels—all within 34 points.

“There will be a lot of pressure on all of us, but that pressure is something I feel I handle well,” Gordon said. “This DuPont team just needs to focus on what we can control and not worry about the other teams.

“However, at the end of the race, you are very aware of the position of the guys you are battling with in the points. You know that passing just one more car may cut the amount of points a driver gains on you, or even add a few more points separation to those behind you.”

While he has posted three victories—the only driver with multiple victories—and five top-fives in 10 starts at California Speedway, Gordon has posted two consecutive finishes of 30th or worse at the two-mile track.

“While we ran well, we experienced engine problems in both of those races,” Gordon said. “I don’t see that being a problem this weekend. The guys in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department have been working hard and making gains, so we should have some good horsepower this weekend without having to worry about reliability.”

California Speedway is similar to Michigan International Speedway, a track where the No. 24 team finished 15th and 32nd in two races this year.

“I love Michigan, or at least I used to,” Gordon joked. “I still love racing at Michigan, I just hate running as poorly as we did. No one on this team was happy with our performances there, and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again this weekend.

“It takes the complete package to run well here: a good car; good aerodynamics; good handling; and a lot of horsepower. California is similar to Michigan, but with less banking.”

This Sunday at California, Gordon is banking on better results.

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