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Team DuPont looking to improve upon top 10 at Charlotte

 

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2010) – Team DuPont has seen success at the intermediate tracks throughout the 2010 season, but Charlotte Motor Speedway, where the crew finished sixth in the spring, has been one track pegged by the team for improvement as they head into this weekend’s Bank of America 500 in the thick of the Chase.

Jeff Gordon, who sits fourth in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with six races remaining in the season, has posted five top-10 finishes in the last six races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Three of those past six races have resulted in strong top-five finishes, dating back to his victory here in October 2007.

Despite these positive results, getting back to Victory Lane is top on the priority list as Team DuPont knows it is the points that accompany a win that are so essential to beating out the competition in the championship race.

“Those wins are so vital right now,” Gordon said. “We leave the track each weekend knowing that we did everything we possibly could, but we’re not going to be satisfied until we win. We need those extra points so we don’t keep losing ground to those guys ahead of us who have wins either earlier in the season or now in the Chase.”

Gordon drove the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the first time at the 1.5-mile oval 570 starts, 82 wins and four NASCAR Cup Series championships ago. That win occurred in May 1994 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, 18 months after his first NASCAR Cup Series start. This Saturday night, Gordon will make his 36th start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, 18 months after his most recent victory at Texas Motor Speedway.

“I remember being speechless after that first victory,” said Gordon who has 611 career starts in the NASCAR Cup Series. “It was the highlight of my racing career to that point. The car just came alive in the cooler night conditions and Ray (Evernham, then crew chief) made a two-tire call at the end of the race that put us in the perfect position for the win. We’ve been strong on the intermediate tracks this year, but Charlotte is one where I felt we needed to improve to make a run at the title.  Hopefully, we can run up near the front and have a shot at the win. 

“Who knows,” Gordon added. “Maybe Steve (Letarte, crew chief) will have an opportunity for another gutsy call like that this weekend and we’ll make it back to Victory Lane at Charlotte, right where it all started.”

Team DuPont has collected four more wins at the 1.5-mile oval in the years since that spring night in 1994 and strong recent finishes at Charlotte could prove to be the building blocks needed for Gordon to capture his 83rd career victory and continue to stay in contention for his fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship.

“I love Charlotte, and I love coming here,” said Gordon who has five wins, seven pole positions, 16 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s at the North Carolina track. “We weren’t very good here in May so we’ve been really looking hard at our notes and setups and cars and trying to do some things to be better when we go back.

“I think we’ve learned some things since May and track position is important everywhere we go, but having a really well-balanced race car here is equally or more important.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway, the track that welcomed Gordon into Victory Lane for the first time 16 years ago, could be just the place where Team DuPont finds itself back there again

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