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Gordon claims pole, eyes top-five finish at Dover

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 19, 2008) - Although he didn’t start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup how he would have liked, Jeff Gordon is sitting in a better position going into Sunday’s 400-mile event at Dover International Speedway.

Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, captured the pole position during qualifying on Friday afternoon. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and four-time winner at Dover is aiming for a finish of fifth or better in Sunday’s race.

The top-five finish would improve Gordon’s position in the Chase, which was affected after last weekend’s 14th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With 20 laps to go at Loudon, Gordon twice battled back into the top 10 after being blocked during a pit stop. But Gordon was forced to slow down dramatically to avoid a spinning car late in the event resulting in a 14th-place finish.

“We had a better car than our finishing position showed last week and that’s sort of the way our year has gone so far,” Gordon said. “We lost track position several times, and it was hard to fight back from it.

“I guess it could have been much worse if I had been collected in the wreck.”

But Team DuPont isn’t spending any time thinking back on the run at Loudon.

“We shake off every race that is behind us – whether we win or finish 40th,” said Gordon, who is 11th in the standings, 99 points behind the leaders. “We are a dangerous organization, and we enter each race thinking we can win. And that’s what we hope to do at Dover.”

In 31 starts at the one-mile track, Gordon has four wins, three poles, 14 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. Earlier this year, he finished fifth – one of only six drivers to complete all 400 laps.

“We were good here earlier this year, and I hope we can make some gains to challenge for the win,” Gordon said. “It’s a great track – one that’s high-banked, fast, with action-filled races and multiple grooves.”

Gordon hopes to find the ‘groove’ this weekend, and for the remainder of the season.

“A strong run – and especially a strong finish – is what we need,” Gordon said. “We’re testing this week on a 1.5-mile track, and I hope that pays dividends later on this year. “But on Friday, our mindset will be getting the most out of this race weekend. It would be nice to put on a good show for all the DuPont guests and employees in attendance since their headquarters are right up the road in Wilmington.”