Hendrick Motorsports

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Texas 'test' on tap for Team DuPont

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 16, 2010) – Three. Two. Won?

Jeff Gordon has finishes of third (Martinsville, Va.) and second (Phoenix) in the two races since the reintroduction of the spoiler to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. But he believes the real test occurs this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Compared with the relatively flat tracks of Martinsville and Phoenix, speeds are significantly higher at Texas – nearly 60 miles per hour faster during qualifying. But while this weekend offers a new test, the results may be similar.

“The true test is going to be at the 1.5-mile tracks – Texas being the first one,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially-painted No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Special Forces Chevrolet. “But I don’t think it’s going to change who’s going to be fast and who’s going to run well.

“From what I can tell, there are differences between the spoiler and wing in traffic. Hopefully, we can adapt to those differences quickly so we can pull off another win here.”

Teams tested at Texas’ sister track Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway a few weeks ago, but the learning continues when the Fort Worth track opens up for practice today.

“We’ll start in race trim during the first practice on Friday, and we’ll take an educated guess at that setup based on what we learned during the Charlotte test,” crew chief Steve Letarte said. “But we won’t be able to simulate full race conditions of side-by-side battling for position with 42 other competitors during practice on Friday or Saturday. Jeff won’t experience that until the green flag drops on Sunday.
“The race will definitely be a learning experience for everybody. While we’re constantly learning, the curve will probably be steeper for the first few races on the high-speed tracks with the spoiler.”

Texas always has been a challenging track for Gordon, but the No. 24 car in front has become a more regular occurrence here. In his first 12 appearances, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion led 133 laps. In his last six starts, Gordon has led 324 laps.

“I think if we’re well-prepared and we’ve got the car dialed in then it’ll be a typical and challenging Texas event for us,” said Gordon, who has one win, two pole positions, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 18 starts. “I have confidence in this team whether there is a spoiler or a wing on the car.”