Momentum Could Lead to Back-to-Back
Wins for Team DuPont
- Jun 30, 2006
- 24 Team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Before last Sunday’s win at Infineon Raceway, 19 races had passed since Jeff Gordon’s last trip to Victory Lane. His wait for a return trip this time may be only six days.
Gordon, who has six victories in 27 starts at Daytona International Speedway, has won consecutive races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit 20 times during his 14-year career. If the four-time Cup Series champion accomplishes that feat for a 21st time in this Saturday night’s Pepsi 400, it would mark his 75th career victory and move him into a tie with Dale Earnhardt for most career restrictor-plate victories (11). It would also move him to within one of tying “The Intimidator” for sixth in all-time NASCAR Cup victories.
But Gordon is not concerned about history. He’s looking to the future.
“For me, it’s not about the statistics,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet this weekend. “One day I’ll look back at everything we’ve been able to accomplish as a team. Right now, though, it’s all about the energy that comes from winning a race.
“We need to carry that energy and momentum into Daytona and beyond. We want to keep building momentum as we approach the Chase. If we’re able to secure a spot in the Chase, then you want it to carry over to the final 10 races.”
Along with his three victories in the season-opening Daytona 500 and three victories in the 400-mile summer event, Gordon has three poles, 10 top-fives and 15 top-10’s at the 2.5-mile track. He has led in 20 events for a total of 470 laps.
Gordon is all too aware that it is not the number of laps led that is important—it’s leading the last one.
At Talladega in April, he led a race-high 62 laps and was battling for the win with less than two laps to go when an attempted pass for the lead resulted in a 15th-place finish.
“I was having a great battle with my teammates Brian Vickers and Jimmie Johnson for the win,” said Gordon. “We worked great together during the race but with five to go, there are no friends.
“I made some moves trying to win the race and lost all my momentum.”
And momentum is one thing Gordon does not want to lose.