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Gordon eyes eighth Cup win at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 20, 2009) – An eighth win for Jeff Gordon at Martinsville Speedway would certainly help his quest to win the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Gordon, who is third in the standings and 135 behind leader Jimmie Johnson, has fared well at the Virginia short track in the past.

In 33 starts, he has seven wins, seven pole positions, 21 top-five finishes—including a current streak of nine straight—and 27 top-10s. The last time Gordon finished outside the top 10 at the 0.526-mile track was 2002—the year an upstart named Jimmie Johnson raced for rookie-of-the-year honors.

But race No. 34 at the paperclip-shaped track for Gordon brings a new challenge.

“I’m excited about Martinsville, and I hope it’s a good weekend for us,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially-painted No. 24 DuPont/NATIONALGUARD.com Chevrolet in the 500-lap race. “The new double-file restart rule should add to an already challenging track and race.

“In the past, the double-file restarts here with lapped cars on the inside were challenging and exciting enough. Now, with lead-lap cars double-file in front, it’s really going to make things interesting because there certainly is a preferred line. Anytime you go to a short track where there is a lot of rubbing and banging, if the outside lane is not the preferred lane, then those guys in the outside lane are going to be working really hard to get in the inside lane, or vice- versa. So it’s going to create a lot of excitement and possibly some real drama.”

While a new rule may create additional excitement on the old track, the keys to winning should remain the same.

“Our job is the same as it’s always been here,” said Gordon, who has 82 career race wins. “We must make the car go through the corners as fast as we can, make sure we’re not burning up the brakes and get the car up off the corner and down the straightaways the best we possibly can against the competition.

“And our goal is to be better than the competition in each of the last five races. A lot can happen in five races.”