Bristol Equation Could Add Up to Victory for Gordon
- Aug 23, 2006
- 24 Team
BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2006) – According to five-time Bristol Motor Speedway winner Jeff Gordon, a good car is only 60 percent of the equation at the infamous short track.
Gordon, who enters this Saturday night’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race sixth in the championship standings, needs three more strong finishes to secure a spot in the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”
And while a well-handling car is required at each track, luck also enters the equation at Bristol, where 43 cars battle for position on the tight, high-banked 0.533-mile oval.
“At Bristol, I would say it’s 60-40,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “Sixty percent of it you’re in control, and 40 percent you’re not. Even if you have a good race car, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay out of trouble.
“You need a car that’s capable of running the speeds needed to stay up front, but things happen everywhere here—whether you’re the leader in lapped traffic or racing for position in the middle or back of the pack.
“There’s no place that’s necessarily safe here. The chances of leaving Bristol with a victory or a good finish are a whole lot better if you have a good race car, though.”
Along with five victories, Gordon has achieved four poles, 10 top-fives and 16 top-10 finishes in 27 career starts at the Tennessee bullring. He has a 4.9 average starting position and has qualified in the top 10 on 23 occasions.
In fact, Gordon has started outside the top 15 only once—his first race at Bristol in NASCAR’s top division in 1993.
“This DuPont team qualifies well here, and that certainly helps at the start of the race,” he said. “But it can pay dividends at the end of the race, as well.
“Even though there are two separate pit roads here, it’s still tight getting in and out of your pit box. And since your pit selection is based on your qualifying position, a good pit stall can help gain much-needed track position toward the end of the race.
“Sure, I’d love to get our sixth win here on Saturday, but we’ve got the ‘big picture’ in mind. We want to contend for a fifth championship this season, and that means we must first get into the Chase.
“We want to leave Bristol with as many points as we can possibly get. And staying out of trouble is the key to doing that.”