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Gordon looking for restitution at Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 19, 2007) – “I told the guys last time that I’d make it up to them, and I plan on doing that again.”

Last Sunday at Watkins Glen International, Jeff Gordon spun from the lead with less than two laps remaining. Although he recovered to finish ninth—scoring Team DuPont’s 20th top-10 in 22 races this season—and earned the first berth in the 2007 edition of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion vowed to make it up to the team.

It is not the first time he has made that promise to the No. 24 team. Earlier this year at Texas, Gordon was leading and looking for his first win at the 1.5-mile track when he hit the turn 4 wall with less than 25 laps remaining. He finished fourth but promised the team that he “would make it up to them.”

And how did he do that? By winning his 76th career race the following week at Phoenix. And by winning again the next week at Talladega Superspeedway. In fact, he won three of the next four races following Texas.

“Obviously, I was very disappointed following the race,” Gordon said. “We were terrible during Saturday’s practice at The Glen, but the guys on the DuPont team gave me a great car and made some great calls in the pits during the race.

“I wanted that win and pushed, but I pushed too hard. The team deserved the win and the driver didn’t deliver.

“It’s like what happened at Texas earlier this year when I brushed the wall. I was disappointed after that race just like I was at Watkins Glen.”

This week’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway marks the return of crew chief Steve Letarte, but the No. 24 team has not missed a beat in his six-race absence. In those six races, Gordon posted top-10 finishes in each of them—including four top-fives—and accumulated more points than any other driver, increasing his lead in the point standings by 173.

“Jeff Meendering did a tremendous job filling in for Steve, but it’ll be great to have Steve back,” Gordon said. “I’ve been impressed with Steve’s ability to call a race, and he has given me great cars this year.”

In 29 starts at Michigan, Gordon has two victories, four poles, 15 top-fives and 20 top- 10’s. With a berth in the Chase secure and the seeding in it based on number of victories, expect Gordon to go all out for the victory.

“It’s all about wins right now,” Gordon said. “We want to get as many bonus points as we can before the Chase starts.

“Essentially, second place pays the same amount of points for us the next four races that last place does—nothing.”

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