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Gordon ready for less racing surface at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 16, 2010) – The addition of extra SAFER barriers has taken away some of the racing surface at Bristol Motor Speedway, and that may cause the ‘sparks to fly’ in Sunday’s Food City 500 according to five-time Bristol winner Jeff Gordon.

Racing has always been tight at the 0.533-mile high-banked track, but now there is less track – about three feet less – at the exits of Turns 2 and 4.

“It’s like anything else, we’ll eventually get used to it,” said Gordon, who also has five pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s in 34 starts at the Tennessee track. “But we already use every inch of the track, so it’ll be interesting to see how much damage the drivers do to the right side of their cars in the first hour of practice on Friday.

“It’s going to be very important to get your car working well for the race, though, because with a narrower track it’s going to be harder to pass. If you want to see sparks fly, I think this might be the thing that does that.”

Following Bristol is another short-track event at Martinsville, Va., and Gordon wants it no other way.

“I’d rather have the short tracks back-to-back,” said the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “It gets you into a mindset, and gets the team really thinking about the set-ups and the cars. The only thing is you might not be using the same race car from week to week. “More than likely you’re going to tear one up.”

Gordon enters this Sunday’s 500-lap event 11th in the standings despite three finishes of 18th or worse in four races, and that standing can be attributed to bonus points. His 16.8 average finish this season ranks only 15th, but the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has led three of four events including the most laps led at Las Vegas. That translates to 20 bonus points—tied for the most this season—and a spot inside the top 12 heading into the season’s first short track event.

“Bonus points are nice, but I look at it as we’re leading races and running strong,” said Gordon, who led 219 of 267 laps in Las Vegas before finishing third. “Even though we finished in the top-five at Vegas and had a good points day, you definitely want to win races when you dominate like that. Winning is worth more points – and it does so much more for your confidence as a team.”

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