Hendrick Motorsports

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Reworked body to prove better at Daytona for Team DuPont?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 2007) – Summertime in Daytona Beach. Time to show off the body you have been working on for months.

Although Team DuPont collected their first of 15 top-10s in 17 races this season with a 10th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team were disappointed in their performance in NASCAR’s “Super Bowl.” However, in the second restrictor-plate race, Gordon made amends.

Similar to the charge Dale Earnhardt made in his final victory in 2000 at Talladega, Gordon maneuvered from 16th with seven laps remaining to the lead in only four laps at the Alabama track. When the checkered flag waved, Gordon was celebrating his 77th career victory—a win that also tied him with “The Intimidator” for most restrictor-plate victories (11).

But a few days later, the No. 24 crew was hard at work on chassis No. 24-367.

“It doesn’t seem like there would be, but there’s a big difference between Daytona and Talladega,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet in this Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. “Daytona is more of a handling track. At Talladega, you want the car to be ‘slick.’

“And the Daytona track is usually very hot and slick during the July race, even though it’s run at night. That puts a premium on downforce and handling.

“We weren’t happy with how we ran in the Daytona 500, so the guys have been working hard on the body of this car with an emphasis on downforce.”

In 29 starts at the 2.5-mile Florida track, Gordon has six victories including three Daytona 500 victories, 10 top-fives and 16 top-10s. He has collected three Bud Poles, but Gordon would be surprised if he set the fastest time during Friday’s qualifying session.

“We’re putting very little emphasis into qualifying this weekend,” Gordon said. “Our focus will be on the handling of the car during race conditions.”

This Saturday night’s race will also mark the end of an era. In future restrictor-plate races starting with the October event at Talladega, teams will be required to use the “Car of Tomorrow.”

“I’m guessing this car will be sold off or become a showcar after this race,” said Gordon, who currently leads the points by 156 over Denny Hamlin. “Hopefully, we can give it a proper send off with another trip to Victory Lane.”

With a myriad of flashes from photographers’ cameras, there’s no better place to showcase the hard work put into a body.