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Strength of Team DuPont could lead to fifth Brickyard win

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2007) – Six Brickyard 400 champions have proceeded to win the NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same year. That is just coincidence, according to four-time Brickyard 400 and four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon.

But there is a connection, and that is the strength of the teams.

Gordon, who won the inaugural stock-car race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994, also won the Brickyard 400 in his championship seasons of 1998 and 2001. His other victory at the historic track occurred in 2004.

“It’s just coincidence, but I do think the strong teams run well here,” said Gordon. “Winning or losing this weekend does not mean you will win or lose the championship.

“This track has long straightaways and flat corners. The four corners look the same but are totally different from one another. It takes horsepower, aerodynamics, a good setup and a driver that can really hit his marks and give good information back to the team. To me, it takes a great team overall to win here. That’s the common denominator.

“I feel like the No. 24 DuPont team is strong, so we’re certainly optimistic heading into the race.

“But that doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Team DuPont has proven to be one of the strongest teams this season. Gordon, who currently leads the standings by 303, leads the series in poles (5), top-fives (12), top-10s (17) and average finish (6.6) after 19 races.

In fact, he is the only driver to have an average finish less than 10.0. He is tied for the series lead in victories with four and, with 10 additional points for each win awarded to Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup participants, Gordon hopes to increase his bonus total before the conclusion of race No. 26.

“It would be nice to get this stretch of races started off well,” said Gordon in advance of 17 consecutive weekends of racing to close out the 2007 season. “But the 10 bonus points heading into the Chase would be nice, too.”

In addition to four wins at the Brickyard, Gordon has also collected three poles, seven top-fives, 10 top-10s and has led a record 433 laps in 13 career starts. His last win here in 2004 tied him with legendary open-wheel drivers Al Unser, Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt for most victories at the 2.5-mile track.

While he still is tied for that record, now retired Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher has since surpassed them all with five victories at the legendary track, albeit all of his wins occurred on the road course.

“I have four wins here—four of the most amazing wins of my career,” Gordon said. “Any time you win at Indy, whether it’s your first win or your fourth, is incredible.

“I witnessed Schumacher’s fifth win and knew the comparisons would begin. But I don’t even compare what we’ve done in a stock car to what Mears, Unser and Foyt did. Those guys are legends here.”

Gordon is looking forward to the annual trip to the Midwest, both on and off the track.

“I thought we were really strong here last year even though we had some issues early on in the race,” said Gordon, referring to a sway bar arm that became unhooked from the sway bar. “We battled back from three laps down to finish 16th, so I’m excited about going back.

“On Thursday, we’ll host our annual bowling tournament for The Jeff Gordon Foundation and Riley Hospital for Children. This weekend also gives me the opportunity to see friends I grew up with that I haven’t seen in a while.”

And if you consider three years “a while,” he may be visiting an old acquaintance at the historic track—Victory Lane.

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