DOVER, Del. – Four-time Dover International Speedway winner Jeff Gordon does not know which will be the toughest assignment he will face this week – racing against 42 of the best drivers at the always tough Monster Mile, or keeping the attention of a group of three and four-year olds. Ella’s dad began this week speaking with her classmates, and it was a smart idea to bring along a visual effect.
“I was able to visit Ella’s class and talk about racing, but they were a tough group to impress,” Gordon joked. “I’m glad I brought one of my helmets for ‘show and tell,’ because they thought that was cool. “It was definitely a fun experience.”
The week continues with a visit to DuPont headquarters in nearby Wilmington on Thursday before focus turns to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Dover International Speedway.
“That annual visit to DuPont headquarters is a real source of motivation before the weekend’s race,” said Gordon, who has four wins, four pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and 21 top-10’s in 36 starts at the one-mile track. “We’ve had a great partnership for 19 years, and the businesses and employees really support this team. They get excited for our visit, and their excitement is contagious.”
This will mark the second trip to Dover in the past month for the No. 24 team. On April 19, the team participated in a Goodyear tire test on the concrete track, and crew chief Alan Gustafson obviously views that as a positive.
“We’re showing up on race weekends with that being the first time we’ve worked together at that track,” Gustafson said. “But this week it’s an advantage for us because this is our second trip here in less than a month. It’s hard to test here, though, because you can’t simulate the rubber buildup if you don’t have 43 cars on the track.
“At Dover, you’ll see a ‘strip’ of rubber that you can’t run on and the driver will have to either straddle it, or run above or below it.” Versatility may be the key to Victory Lane on Sunday. “We may have to sacrifice a little at the beginning to be there at the end,” Gustafson said. “Running the bottom of the track may be fast early, but you need to be versatile and be able to miss that rubber ‘strip’ as the race progresses.”
If successful in earning a passing grade, Team DuPont may the end the week in Victory Lane.