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Team DuPont hopes to shake intermediate track slump on Saturday

JOLIET, Ill. (July 8, 2008) - Team DuPont is hoping to avoid the intermediate track blues this Saturday when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Chicagoland Speedway for a 400-mile night race.

It has been an up and down year for Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, on mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks.

At California in February, the four-time Cup champion led 68 laps en route to a third-place finish in the rain-delayed event. One week later, Gordon led 19 laps at Las Vegas before a frightening accident relegated him to a 35th-place finish. In March at Atlanta, Gordon posted another top-five finish. One month later, he battled the handling at Texas, was involved in an accident and finished 43rd. At Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May and Michigan in June—two races where fuel strategy played an outcome in the final running order—Gordon had finishes of fourth and 18th, respectively.

“I thought we started out the year well with good runs at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet Impala SS this weekend. “Texas, though, was probably the low point of the season for us. We ran terrible, and I lost control of the car. When you go through those types of races, you look back at it and try to figure out how we could have improved and where we are missing something.

“Everybody’s pretty tightly matched. Sometimes it might look like you’re way off, but it could be something that’s small that makes a big difference.”

Team DuPont tried to find that difference during a one-day test this week in Kentucky.

“I still don’t feel like we’ve really figured out what we need to be battling for wins and leading laps, but we’re working really hard on that,” said Gordon, who has one win, one pole position, four top-five finishes and five top-10s in seven starts at Chicagoland. “In terms of sheer speed, we still need to gain.  But we feel like we have until September to make all those gains.

“We need to secure a spot in the Chase and then start off solid. We have a strong team – one that’s capable of winning races anywhere. “One that’s capable of winning a championship.”