Hendrick Motorsports

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Team DuPont amped for Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (September 30, 2008) - As defending champions of the AMP Energy 500, six-time Talladega Superspeedway winners and record holders for the most restrictor-plate victories with 12, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont are energized heading into this Sunday’s race at Talladega.

But even with the success Gordon has had at the 2.66-mile high-banked superspeedway, he also has been in his share of multi-car accidents. And although he feels confident that he can challenge for the win, does he have a plan to avoid the big one?

“Nope, I’ve given up trying to figure that out,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “This race is one I feel this DuPont team can win but, at the same time, I’m trying to figure out how I can avoid the big one. These days, there is just so little that you can do to avoid being collected in it.

“We’re racing three-wide however many rows deep, and you’re just getting beat to death bump drafting down the straightaway. If you’re in the middle, it’s just bam, bam, bam, bam, and you’re just trying to hold the car straight. You just hold on tight, and if you’re in it, you’re in it.”

Along with his six victories at the track, Gordon has one pole, 13 top-fives and 16 top-10’s in 31 starts. He has led 25 races for a total of 802 laps – more than any other active driver.

“Leading is probably the best way to avoid the ‘big one,’” Gordon said. “But if you get shuffled out of the lead, you have to survey the situation and make the best decision at that time.

“If there are plenty of laps left, do you try and stay in the lead pack to draft back up to the front? Or do you clear yourself of the main pack and just ride around until the closing stages to make your move? Last year in this race, I hung back away from the big pack for much of the day and was still able to win.

“While I hate that strategy, it worked in that instance.”

With seven races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Gordon is sixth in the standings—143 points out of the lead held by his teammate Jimmie Johnson. A strong finish could bolster his championship aspirations.

“A lot can happen points-wise in this race,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, there are no big accidents, and if there are, we are able to avoid them. “I feel this is a race we can win. We just need to be in a position at the end to challenge for the victory.”