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Gordon has Texas in his crosshairs

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2009) - Although Texas Motor Speedway always has been hit or miss for Jeff Gordon, Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile track is in his crosshairs.

In 16 starts at the Texas track, Gordon has one pole, six top-five finishes – the most of any driver – and eight top-10s. But TMS remains one of only two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule where Gordon has yet to post a victory (Homestead-Miami Speedway is the other).

“We’ve been hit or miss here,” said Gordon, who leads the point standings by 89 over Clint Bowyer heading into Sunday’s Samsung 500. “In 2007, when we hit on the setup, I hit the wall with about 20 to go while leading and it ruined that opportunity. Another time we had electrical issues while leading late in the race.

“But those were instances when we ran well and had a shot at the win. Other times, we’ve been off the mark.”

Including this race in 2008 when the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion hit the Turn 4 wall on lap 110 and finished 43rd. The team rebounded in November, winning the pole and finishing second.

“I am not going to base anything off last year,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially-painted No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet this weekend. “Even when we finished second, it was because of fuel mileage and we still were only about a 12th to 15th- place car.
“The team worked hard over the offseason and our performances on intermediate tracks have improved. We are just a different team with different race cars right now.”

In three “intermediate” track races this year, Gordon has led laps in each event with finishes of second at California, sixth at Las Vegas and second at Atlanta. Next up is the 1.5-mile Texas track, and his sights are set on a strong run.

“Texas is one of those places that is on my radar,” Gordon said. “I want to turn things around and conquer it. We’ve made such huge progress – the way the cars are driving, the way the team is performing –  that I’m really optimistic. What we are doing with the cars has worked well so far this year.

“And I think it could possibly even work better at Texas than some of the places we have been to.”

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