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Despite four wins, Gordon still intimidated by Brickyard

 

INDIANAPOLIS(July 21, 2009) - After thousands of competitive laps and four trips to Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, what will Jeff Gordon feel as he takes his first trip around the historic speedway this weekend?

Intimidation.

“The first couple laps around the track you always use too much brake,” said Gordon, the Inaugural Brickyard 400 winner (1994) and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “The straightaways are really long, and you build up a lot of speed. You have this tunnel vision, and all you see is wall and grandstands. The corner appears to be extremely tight and extremely narrow—and it is.

“You always snap out of the gas way too early and use too much brake because the corner is intimidating at first. But you realize the track can handle more than that and the car can handle more than that. After a few laps, you get back into the groove and regain a level of comfort.”

Along with his four victories, Gordon has three pole positions, nine top-five finishes, 12 top-10s and an 8.6 average finish in 15 starts—all tops among NASCAR drivers at the 2.5-mile track. He also has led 440 laps—225 more than his closest competitor—around the track.

“There is no other track like this, and it has four unique corners,” said Gordon, who is second in standings, 175 behind leader Tony Stewart. “Actually, I think it has eight unique corners. The entry into each of the four corners is different, and I look at the exit of each as a different corner, as well. Exit speed is important, especially leading onto the long straightaways.”

While he is the lone stock car driver with four wins at the famed track, Gordon—who grew up in nearby Pittsboro—understands each win here is not the accomplishment of one individual.

“More than most race tracks, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is about the team,” said Gordon, who will host the 8th annual Gordon’s Celebrity Bowl on Thursday to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. “It’s about good communication prior to the race in setting up the car. It’s about the pit crew being solid throughout the race. And it’s about good communication during the race while tuning on the car that will hopefully get you to Victory Lane. And earn you that special, gritty kiss with the bricks that we all want.”

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