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Gordon Could Tie Earnhardt, Schumacher at Indy

 

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Aug. 2, 2006) – If Team DuPont kisses the bricks following this Sunday’s race at the Brickyard, Jeff Gordon will tie achievements set by two racing icons from different sides of the Atlantic.

Gordon, a four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion and four-time winner at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, can match feats set by two seven-time champions this weekend.

Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula 1 champion from Germany, won the U.S. Grand Prix at the famed speedway last month to become the first five-time winner in the speedway’s 96-year history.

“I’ve never felt like there’s a real good comparison there,” said Gordon. “As a kid growing up a fan of the Indianapolis 500 and realizing what Al Unser, Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt accomplished, I don’t think you can compare that to what I’ve done or what Michael Schumacher has done. As much as I love this race and am glad that I’ve won here, I still don’t compare those wins to what those guys have done in the Indy 500.

“I look at the F1 race in the same manner. It’s just a totally different event and totally different types of cars. I think that you have to take each series and compare everything to that series.”

Gordon, who will run a “Heat Waves and Flames” DuPont Hot Hues™ custom-colored paint scheme designed by Chip Foose during the 400-miler, can also tie seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt for career victories if he notches No. 76 this Sunday.

“Tying Dale would be a huge honor, although I’m sure he’d have a lot more than 76 if he were still with us today,” Gordon said. “To me, Dale is the all-time great, certainly of those I’ve had the chance to race against.

“The thing that I admired so much about him is the fact that he won over so many different years with cars changing, the sport changing and different drivers coming in and out of the sport. With all those changes, he always found a way to get to Victory Lane and battle for championships. I think when you look at the span of time that he was able to do that, that’s very impressive.

“And to be just one away from something he’s done is an accomplishment.”

Along with his four wins at the 2.5-mile track, Gordon, who will celebrate his 35th birthday this Friday, has three poles, seven top-fives and 10 top-10s in 12 starts.

“I think that Indy is more of a personal thing for me because I grew up as a kid watching the Indy 500 and going to that race,” said Gordon. “Growing up in this area, there’s just something about this place. The Brickyard is a big, big event for me and this DuPont team.

“My wins here have been some of the most amazing moments of my career. Whether it’s your first win or your fourth, a win at The Brickyard is incredible.

“And I’d love to get another one.”

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