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Gordon expects Talladega to be 'spectacular'

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 5, 2007) – According to Jeff Gordon, Talladega Superspeedway “got pretty dicey” at times. And that was with only 20 cars running in a pack. During testing.

In September, NASCAR held a “Car of Tomorrow” (CoT) test at the 2.66-mile Alabama track in advance of the new generation car’s debut in a restrictor-plate race. If that test was any sort of preview to Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event, Gordon expects the race to be even more entertaining for the fans than previous races at the high-banked superspeedway.

“The CoT is going to change everything here,” said Gordon, who will run a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet Impala SS in the 188-lap race. “It’s going to be spectacular.

“During the test, we had 20-car packs and it got pretty dicey at times. When you put 43 cars out there battling for the lead and the win, it’s going to be crazy.

“I don’t think NASCAR’s intention in creating the CoT was Talladega, but the track is going to benefit from its use. The new body style allows us to run a bigger restrictor plate and, with the wing and the wicker, its only going to enhance the entertainment here.

“I expect it to be pretty wild, pretty crazy and it should be a heck of a show for the fans.”

In 29 starts at Talladega, Gordon has five wins including his 77th career victory earlier this year, one pole, 12 top-fives and 15 top-10s. He has led at least one lap in 23 races for a total of 800 laps led, tops among active drivers.

But Gordon, winner of 79 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, may not be battling for the top spot during the race on Sunday, at least in the early stages.

“I expect there to be a lot of shuffling going on during the race—guys going from the front to the back, then up to the front again,” said Gordon, who is second in the point standings, six behind teammate Jimmie Johnson after three of 10 Chase events. “Some guys prefer to have a smaller group of cars away from the big pack in an effort to avoid the ‘big one’ (multi-car accidents common at restrictor-plate races). I tried that a few years ago and hated it.

“But we’re racing for a championship and I might have to make that decision this weekend. It’ll just depend on how intense and out of control things are in the lead pack.

“I like to race and would prefer to take my chances rather than just riding around.”

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