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Gordon gears up for Atlanta's first night race

HAMPTON, Ga. (Sept. 1, 2009) - Although Sunday will mark the first official night race for Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont are searching for another win under the lights on the 1.54-mile racetrack.

In November of 1998, Gordon and the No. 24 team put an exclamation point on their third NASCAR Cup Series championship with a win in the rain-delayed, rain-shortened season finale that ran well into the Georgia night. The win under the lights marked Gordon’s 13th of the season – tying him with Richard Petty for most victories in one season in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 - present).

“We’ve already raced here under the lights, but that wasn’t scheduled to be a night race,” said the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. “This place is so fast with multiple grooves that it tends to have great racing. It’s just a spectacular track to race in general. Under the lights, even more so.”

In 34 career starts at Atlanta, Gordon has four wins, two pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. In his last eight races at the 1.54-mile track, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has seven top-10 finishes with a 5.875 average finish.

“I always look forward to our visits here because I think it’s one of our best tracks,” Gordon said. “And we have the luxury of knowing our spot in the ‘Chase’ is secure, so we can gamble – if needed – to go for the win and the 10 bonus points.”

Gordon’s lone win so far this season occurred at Texas Motor Speedway in April, and that assures the No. 24 Chevrolet Impala SS driver at least 10 bonus points entering the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

After race No. 26 at Richmond International Raceway on September 12, points will be reset for the 12 participating Chase drivers. Each driver will receive 10 points for a win during the regular season.

“Wins and bonus points are all we have to gain right now, other than maybe a little bit of momentum,” Gordon said. “And wins definitely provide huge momentum. These last two races before the ‘Chase’ starts offer us two more opportunities to collect bonus points. And it also gives us the opportunity to show the competition that we’ll be a threat to win the championship.”