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Team DuPont hopes testing pays off at Texas

FORT WORTH, TEXAS. (Oct. 28, 2008) - Stops in Nashville, Tenn., and Kentucky may prove to be the best route for Team DuPont to find Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

In April, Jeff Gordon battled the handling on his No. 24 Chevrolet before slamming into the Turn 4 wall and finishing 43rd. Unhappy with the performance, the team tested numerous times at Nashville and Kentucky. Recent performances at the 1.5-mile tracks at Kansas Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway give the team additional confidence heading into the Dickies 500 at its “weakest” track.

“Our intermediate track program is much better than it was earlier this year here,” said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “We know this is our weakest track, and we’re going in a completely different direction setup-wise compared to the spring race. It’s the same direction, though, that has made us more competitive at Kansas and Charlotte.”

“We struggled through the entire weekend here earlier this year, and nobody on this DuPont team wants to experience that again,” Gordon said. “We’ve tested more this year than I ever have before, and I hope it shows in our performance this weekend.”

In 15 starts at the Texas track, Gordon has posted five top-five finishes and seven top-10s. But it remains the only track where he has yet to cross under the checkered flag first in a NASCAR race (Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory for Gordon in 2000, is the only other track where the 81-time winner has yet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race).

“Texas is a very challenging race track, and we have been ‘hit or miss’ here,” Gordon said. “There are bumps and transitions, and there is a lot of grip on this very fast track. Facility wise, I think this place is at the top. We have been good enough to win at times, but we haven’t been good enough on a consistent basis to pull it off. We have been leading here with less than 50 laps to go and didn’t win.

“Those are frustrating, but nothing like what we experienced here in April.”

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