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At Texas, it's 'personal' for Jeff Gordon

FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 3, 2007) - Jeff Gordon can match a personal “best” in the Dickies 500 on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, but he may need to eclipse that mark if the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion is to win this year’s “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”

Entering race No. 34 of 36, Gordon leads the point standings by nine over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. The driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has collected 27 top-10s in 2007—one away from his career best of 28 (1998). Since the schedule reduction of NASCAR’s premier division in 1972, Dale Jarrett holds the top spot with 29 top-10s during his 1999 championship season.

And while Gordon has posted six top-10s in 13 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Texas remains one of only two tracks (Homestead-Miami is the other) where he has yet to visit Victory Lane in a Cup Series race.

“I can honestly say this is one of the first times I’m excited about racing here from a competitive standpoint,” said Gordon, who has six victories this season and 81 wins during his 15-year career. “I’ve always loved the facility, but it’s been ‘hit or miss’ for us.

“I like going to any track where we’re capable of posting a top-five finish, and we’ve had some top-fives here recently. Hopefully, we can improve on that and get our first win at Texas.

“We’ve been close to victory the past couple of times. But for whatever crazy reason—whether it’s an electrical problem while leading or me smacking the wall off turn four while leading—we just haven’t won.”

In three previous editions of the Chase, the eventual champion has posted at least one finish of 25th or worse during the 10-race stretch that determines the champion. That may not occur this year as Gordon, Johnson and third-place Clint Bowyer have combined to win five of the seven Chase races with Johnson’s 14th-place finishes at Dover and Charlotte being the worst finishes of the trio.

“All we can do right now is put up the best numbers and performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the next three events and hope that’s enough,” said Gordon. “I think we have a team capable of winning the championship.

“We have a slim points lead right now. I don’t care how small or large a lead is after the season finale at Homestead.

“I just hope it’s the DuPont team with that lead.”

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