Hendrick Motorsports

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Two-step approach for Team DuPont at Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 1, 2008) - This weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway marks the debut of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS at the 1.5-mile track, and crew chief Steve Letarte is taking a “two-step” approach to car setup for the Samsung 500.

Letarte, in his third season as crew chief for Jeff Gordon, will draw on experience from earlier races this season.

“We didn’t have the luxury of testing the new car here in advance of this race, so we’ll go with a baseline setup from similar tracks and adjust from there,” Letarte said. “Las Vegas and Atlanta are somewhat similar tracks, and we qualified fourth at Las Vegas and on the pole in Atlanta. We’ll concentrate on qualifying during Friday’s practice and hopefully duplicate that success.”

But all is not forgotten from the days when the Monte Carlo was raced.

“While the setups are different when comparing the Monte Carlo to the Impala, the adjustments made to the car are similar,” Letarte said. “If we need to loosen the Impala up by two ‘steps,’ it would be the same two ‘steps’ we would have taken with the Monte Carlo.”

Gordon hopes those steps take him to his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway—one of only two tracks where the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has yet to visit Victory Lane.

“We’ve been close several times the past couple of years,” said Gordon, who has five top-fives and seven top-10s in 14 starts at Texas. “But, whether it was an electrical problem while leading or me hitting the Turn 4 wall while leading, we haven’t won.

“This is a very tricky track. We carry a lot of speed off the corners, the track narrows on exit and the walls come up on you quick. But it’s also hard to find the right combination of aerodynamics, horsepower, mechanical grip and setup to get comfortable with the speeds we carry through the corner.”

If that combination is found, Team DuPont could be “two-stepping” it to Victory Lane.