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Gordon sorely wants good finish at Atlanta

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 5, 2008) -  After suffering through a frightening crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Sunday and posting his second DNF in three starts this season, a good finish is something Jeff Gordon sorely wants in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway this Sunday.

Gordon, who was involved in an accident with less than five laps to go at LVMS, made hard contact with the inside retaining wall on the backstretch.

“It was a really hard hit—probably the hardest I’ve ever hit a wall,” said Gordon. “It took me a while to catch my breath and get out of the car.

“I looked down and saw where the transmission was, but it was no longer there.

“I was sore on Monday, but I’m feeling better each day. It’s a testament to the fast, safe cars that are built by the DuPont team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.

“We’ve had competitive cars at each race this year, we just don’t have the finishes to show for it. We’ll hopefully rebound with another strong performance—coupled with a great finish—this weekend.”

After testing at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday and Tuesday, Gordon will head to the Georgia track where he has four wins, one pole, 12 top-fives, 19 top-10s and 1,050 laps led in 31 starts. But this will be the first time the “Car of Tomorrow” is used here.

“I don’t think it matters what vehicles we race,” Gordon said. “This track just seems to provide great side-by-side racing through the corners, and there have been a lot of close finishes.”

Gordon had reservations about what type of racing would occur when the track changed configurations from a 1.522-mile oval to a 1.54 mile quad-oval in 1997.

“I really liked the old design,” said Gordon, whose first start in NASCAR’s premier series occurred here in 1992. “But, after the change, I found out the design of the track wasn’t the reason I liked racing here.

“It’s the pavement that makes this place so much fun.”

When asked to explain further, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet referred to another passion of his.

“I guess it’s like a fine wine,” said Gordon, who has partnered with August Briggs Winery for the Jeff Gordon Collection of wine. “The pavement—much like a great wine—gets better when it has aged.

“The pavement here really wears the tires out, and we can run low, middle, high and everywhere in between in the wide corners. It really gives us the opportunity to find a line that works best for the car.”

If he finds that line, a trip to Victory Lane could be a cure for what ails Gordon.

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