To Win at Dover, Gordon Must First Finish
- Sep 24, 2005
- 24 Team
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 24, 2005) - If Jeff Gordon can avoid trouble during this Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Dover International Speedway, expect him to contend for the win.
In his last 10 starts at the one-mile concrete track, Gordon has one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. The other three results were 36th or worse—and all were due to accidents.
“Each weekend, the first three-quarters of the race is putting yourself into a position to contend for the win in the closing stages,” Gordon said. “Here, it’s no different, although it’s really tight racing at the start.
“Early on, the preferred groove is on the bottom in the corners and everybody is fighting for the same piece of real estate. But as the race progresses, the groove spreads out where you can run low, high or anywhere in between. It really allows for some good side-by-side racing, and it also allows you to search for a line that best suits your car’s handling.
“You can change your entry speed, play with the throttle and the brake, or approach the corners differently to make the car work better for you.”
On Saturday morning, Gordon will briefly switch gears and focus his attention on those who serve our country. DuPont recently awarded seats on the DuPont Monster Bridge to 12 members of the U.S. military who returned from serving our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to watching the race in the most exciting seat in sports, they will also tour the garage area and meet the four-time champion.
“It’s always an honor to meet and speak with the soldiers who fight for our freedom,” Gordon said. “They sacrifice so much of their life defending our country, and I’m happy that we’ll be able to help recognize that.”
In 25 starts at Dover, Gordon has posted four wins, two poles, 12 top-fives and 16 top-10s. He has led the most laps on five occasions, including leading 381 of 400 laps in 2001 and 400 of 500 laps in 1995—both victories.
While Gordon is not in contention for this year’s championship, there is still $1 million up for grabs to the driver who finishes 11th in the standings. Gordon, who is only one point behind 11th-place Jamie McMurray, will be fighting for that position over the final nine races with a new crew chief. Last week, Steve Letarte was named crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.
“I have a lot of confidence in Steve,” Gordon said. “Every time he’s been asked to step up a position, he’s exceeded our expectations.
“We had a good car at New Hampshire last week, and our 14th-place finish was not indicative of how we ran. We gambled on pit strategy that could have trapped a lot of guys a lap down if it had worked.
“We’re not racing for the championship, so we can afford to take chances.”