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Gordon hopes to extend top-five streak at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 23, 2010) – In this Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500, seven-time Martinsville Speedway winner Jeff Gordon is looking to extend a top-five streak at the paper-clip track that dates back to April of 2005.

To put that streak in context, retired drivers Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd and Dale Jarrett participated in that event, while Mark Martin has retired and returned to full-time action (much like the spoiler) since the streak started with Gordon’s win 10 races ago. But this weekend’s activities include the return of the spoiler to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, replacing the wing that has been used full-time since 2008.

“I think that Martinsville is a safe place to put the spoiler back on because it is one of our slowest tracks,” Gordon said. “We know aerodynamics don’t play as big of a role here, and we can kind of test it out. “From a downforce standpoint, we’re going to have more and that will make the drivers a little bit happier because we’ll have a little more grip. “I see a lot of the positives with the use of the spoiler, so I’m looking forward to running it again. And the fans seem to like it better, too.”

No matter what device is bolted to the rear decklid of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Gordon seems to have the car in contention at the end of nearly every Martinsville race. Along with seven wins, Gordon has seven pole positions, 22 top-five finishes and 28 top-10s in 34 career starts at the Virginia short track. In fact, he has finished outside the top 12 only three times – once during the 1994 season and during both events in 2002.

“This has always been a rhythm track for me,” Gordon said. “It just took me a few years and thousands of laps to find that rhythm. “But once I did, it just ‘clicked.’”

Last week, Gordon visited Martinsville to help promote this weekend’s event. That trip included a stop at Patrick Henry Elementary School where the soon-to-be father of two listened in during a few lessons.

“I enjoyed the trip and it sure was cool to see some of the new educational tools teachers are using now,” Gordon said. “A lot has changed, but it’s something I’m definitely interested in these days now that I am a father.”

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