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Jeff Gordon Ready to Fly at Daytona

CONCORD, N.C. (June 27, 2006) – On the eve of Warner Bros. Pictures’ June 28 release of Superman Returns, and following closely on Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR-record ninth road course victory at Infineon Raceway, Gordon has set his sights on his next challenge: Daytona International Speedway, where the champion racer will drive a special No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet branded with the forthcoming epic action adventure Superman Returns.

Gordon, who leads all active drivers with six career NEXTEL Cup Series wins at the Daytona Beach, Fla., track, has posted eye-popping, almost otherworldly statistics there, so it seems appropriate that Brandon Routh, who stars in the film as the Man of Steel, will be the Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 400.

Pepsi, the movie’s official soft drink partner, is also offering fans the opportunity to win the Ultimate Racing Reward—a trip to all 10 Chase races—when Gordon reveals a secret password during the Pepsi 400 television broadcast.

“Having Superman on the DuPont/Pepsi Chevy is pretty cool,” said Gordon, whose Monte Carlo SS will feature the Superman S-Shield on the hood.  “Who didn’t grow up reading the comic books or watching the movies?  I’m just hoping Superman and I can take the car to Victory Lane.”

At times, Gordon has seemed superhuman at Daytona.  He’s led an astounding 20 of his 27 races at the 2.5-mile track (470 total laps) en route to 10 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s.  He has three victories in the Pepsi 400 and another three in the season-opening Daytona 500.

On superpseedways in general, the record speaks for itself.  In 54 restrictor-plate races, the four-time NEXTEL Cup champion has paced 1,172 laps, the most of all current drivers and second all-time, and has won 10 races at Daytona and Talladega, Ala., combined (also the best active total).

They are stats the Man of Steel would be proud of, but Gordon sounds more like Clark Kent in crediting simple hard work and the dedication of his team.

“At Hendrick Motorsports, we take a great deal of pride in our restrictor-plate program and it just continues to get better with each race,” Gordon said.  “The No. 24 team has enjoyed a ton of success at Daytona, but so have our teammates.  It’s something we’ve emphasized as an organization and the results speak volumes.”

Like Superman with Kryptonite, every good hero has a weakness.  But Gordon believes the Achilles’ heel of his No. 24 Chevrolet team has been more circumstance than mechanics in 2006.

“This year, our biggest hurdle has been bad luck,” he said.  “We had a top-five car at Bristol, a top-10 car at Pocono and a car capable of winning at Michigan.  Right now, we’re focused on turning that corner and building momentum toward the Chase.  Sunday’s win certainly helped get us closer to where we want to be and now we’re focused on getting two in a row.”

Of course, any legitimate superhero also has a nemesis.  At Daytona, Gordon may have three.

“Our teammates may be our biggest competition this weekend,” Gordon said.  “Jimmie (Johnson) has won two in a row on the big tracks, but Kyle (Busch) and Brian (Vickers) are pretty good themselves.  There’s definitely a chance it could come down to the Hendrick cars at the end.  I’m just hoping it’ll be the one with Pepsi and the big ‘S’ on the hood.”

PEPSI’S ULTIMATE RACING REWARD:
Watch Jeff Gordon race the No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 1 on FOX at 7:30 p.m. EST.  You could win the Ultimate Racing Reward—a trip to all 10 Chase races—by visiting the Pepsi Stage or watching the race broadcast to learn the secret password.  Visit www.DailyPlanet.com/Pepsi400 by July 6, 2006 to play.

ABOUT ‘SUPERMAN RETURNS’:
Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in “Superman Returns.”  While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life.  Or has she?  Superman’s bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him.  In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Jon Peters production in association with Bad Hat Harry Productions, a Bryan Singer film, Superman Returns, starring BRANDON ROUTH, KATE BOSWORTH, JAMES MARSDEN, FRANK LANGELLA, EVA MARIE SAINT, PARKER POSEY, KAL PENN, SAM HUNTINGTON and KEVIN SPACEY.  Directed by BRYAN SINGER, the film is produced by JON PETERS, BRYAN SINGER and GILBERT ADLER.  The executive producers are CHRIS LEE, THOMAS TULL and SCOTT MEDNICK.  The screenplay is by MICHAEL DOUGHERTY & DAN HARRIS, story by BRYAN SINGER & MICHAEL DOUGHERTY & DAN HARRIS.  The director of photography is NEWTON THOMAS SIGEL A.S.C.; the production designer is GUY HENDRIX DYAS; the film is edited by JOHN OTTMAN and ELLIOT GRAHAM; the music is by JOHN OTTMAN; and the costumes are designed by LOUISE MINGENBACH.  The film is based upon Superman characters created by JERRY SIEGEL & JOE SHUSTER and published by DC Comics.  This film is rated “PG-13” by the MPAA for “some intense action violence.”  Superman Returns will be released worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.  www.supermanreturns.com

SUPERMAN and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.

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