Gordon, DuPont to Make 450th Start at Dover
- May 30, 2006
- 24 Team
DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2006) – Another milestone in a storied career is upon Jeff Gordon as he looks forward to making his 450th consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway.
And how appropriate is it that this event is in the backyard of Gordon’s primary sponsor, which began its support with his first Cup Series start at the end of 1992? DuPont’s global headquarters is in nearby Wilmington, Del., where the company will celebrate its continued success with Gordon this week at its annual employee appreciation day.
Commemorating 73 wins and four championships is remarkable in that no other current driver can lay claim to that level of success.
And along the road that leads to Gordon’s 450th start are mile markers that include: winning the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his 50th start; his first of three Daytona 500 wins and becoming the youngest driver to win NASCAR’s most prestigious event in his 125th race; starting from the pole at Richmond, Va., for race No. 200; the second of four Brickyard 400 victories came with start No. 175; and his third win at California Speedway came in start No. 375.
But even with all that success, Gordon’s most significant Cup Series race, from a historical perspective, may have been start No. 1. It was the 1992 season finale in Atlanta where Richard Petty closed the book on his still unmatched record of 200 wins and seven championships, and Gordon made his debut.
“It’s hard to believe that this is our 14th full season,” Gordon said. “And to have accomplished everything we’ve been able to accomplish in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 and with DuPont on board is really quite remarkable—but it’s that level of stability that has really helped us over the years.
“It’s also hard to believe that I’m now the veteran of the sport. It seems like just yesterday that I was in that driver’s meeting where Richard Petty gave every driver there a commemorative money clip, which I still have to this day.
“Now it’s 14 years, four championships and 450 starts later.”
And three full-time crew chiefs, two regular DuPont paints schemes, two makes of Chevrolet, and a second series sponsor complete with a new championship points system later, Gordon still expects to remain competitive each week and each season.
“We’ve always had a strong team and have won multiple races each year since our first race win in Charlotte in 1994. However, we’ve yet to do that this year and so the most important race to us becomes the next one and we hope to get to Victory Lane this weekend at Dover and really get some momentum built up as we head toward the Chase.”
Having started on the front row seven times in 26 starts, including three poles, and earned 14 top-fives, 16 top-10s and four wins split equally among two annual events, Dover might just be the place where Gordon’s next mile marker rests.
A marker that celebrates 450 races, 74 wins and a shot at that elusive fifth championship.