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Team DuPont eyes redemption at Phoenix

AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 9, 2010) – Despite posting 17 top-10 finishes in 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts, Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) has always been a ‘hit or miss’ track for Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont team. This Sunday in the Kobalt Tools 500, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion plans redemption for a near-miss here earlier this year.

In the 600-kilometer spring PIR event, a two-tire pit stop by the No. 24 crew allowed Gordon to win the race off pit road and lead the field into the final green-white-checkered finish. He spun the tires on the restart, though, and trailed Ryan Newman across the finish line.

“We had a good car during that event, and I think we were sitting third before that last caution came out,” said Gordon, who is now sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings and 331 behind the leader. “My crew chief Steve Letarte made a great call for two tires during the caution to give us the lead, but I spun the tires on the restart. I wasn’t too worried about it, but then I saw Ryan shoot ahead and I knew I was in trouble.”

Along with 17 top-10’s, Gordon has one win (2007), three poles and nine top- fives at the one-mile track, and compromise may allow the 82-time winner to pad those statistics. “I love the track even though it’s a very challenging one,” said Gordon. “Both ends of the race track are complete opposites and it’s impossible to get both ends to work perfectly.

“I like that challenge. I’ve driven on the track since I was like 18 years old, so I always look forward to coming here because it’s a lot of fun to drive.”

Gordon will enter Sunday’s 500-kilometer battle with the same team but a different group of individuals pitting the car. For the final two races of the 2010 season, Gordon’s ‘normal’ No. 24 over-the-wall crew will pit the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson while the No. 48 crew will pit Gordon’s Impala.

“The guys that will pit the No. 24 car in Phoenix have won six races this year and are a very talented group,” Letarte said. “We’re going to Phoenix trying to win the event.”

“We’ve always had a one-team, two-car philosophy with the (Nos.) 24 and 48 cars,” Gordon added. “The shop personnel work on both cars in the shop, and the crew will lend another Hendrickteam a hand if needed at the track. We want to do everything possible to bring another championship trophy back to Hendrick Motorsports. But I also plan to do everything possible to get another Phoenix trophy for this DuPont team.”

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