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Gordon hungry for Daytona 500 win -- and a fifth championship

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 7, 2008) - Prior to taking his seat to answer questions from the media on Monday, Jeff Gordon posed for a photo with the gold-plated Harley J. Earl trophy destined for the winner of the 2008 Daytona 500.

Gordon, along with teammates Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears, tested Daytona International Speedway today in preparation for the 50th running of the “Great American Race.”

“You always want to win the Daytona 500,” said Gordon, a three-time victor. “It’s the ultimate. It’s certainly cool when I come in here and I see the trophy. It makes for a lot of incentive. I’m fortunate to have a few of these, but none of them have gold on it.“

As last season’s series runner-up, he aims to contend for his fifth title in 2008.

“I think when you have the type of year that we had last year and you come up a little bit short,” Gordon said, “especially with your teammate, I think it just makes you that much hungrier to go out there and try to get another one.”

Meanwhile, Gordon’s off-season was his first with baby daughter Ella.

“I’ve had a chance to get away and relax,” he said, “spend time as a dad, with my family. I’m certainly energized and ready to go. Things are going well so far today. I’m looking forward to the next couple days and see what we’ve got.”