VEGAS 'HANGOVER' OVER AND DONE FOR NO. 24 TEAM HAMPTON, Ga. (March 2, 2010) - It's over. Done. But last weekend's 'hangover' - a disappointing third-place finish in a race they dominated - has Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team optimistic heading...
VEGAS 'HANGOVER' OVER AND DONE FOR NO. 24 TEAM
HAMPTON, Ga. (March 2, 2010) - It's over. Done. But last weekend's 'hangover' - a disappointing third-place finish in a race they dominated - has Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 team optimistic heading into this Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion led 219 of 267 laps before fading to third after a late-race decision for right-side tires only during a pit stop did not provide the team with the desired result.
"I thought it was the right call because we believed more teams were going to take only two tires during that stop," said Gordon. "But I knew we were in trouble when (eventual winner) Jimmie Johnson lined up right behind us with four new tires.
"While we were disappointed, there were a lot of positives to take from there. We led a ton of laps, we had a fast race car, we had solid pit stops all day long and we were able to move up in the point standings to 13th.
"And that has us excited heading into Atlanta this weekend." Gordon, who will drive a specially painted DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet Impala during the 500-mile event, has eight top-10 finishes in his last nine starts at the 1.54-mile track. Overall, he has four wins, two poles, 14 top-fives and 23 top-10's in 35 starts at the Georgia track.
"I've always enjoyed racing here because we can run low, high and everywhere in between in the corners," said Gordon. "We've had some strong runs here recently, and we want to build on the strong run of last week."
And last weekend's race is a thing of the past according to crew chief Steve Letarte.
"Vegas is done and over," said Letarte. "Just because it didn't pan out the way we would have liked doesn't mean there weren't a lot of good things to come out of the weekend.
"We had a 'newer' car in Vegas, and we're running a brand new car this weekend. Both Vegas and Atlanta are fast, high-banked tracks and I believe there is a percentage of what was learned and used last week that can help us this week.
"We were aggressive in qualifying trim last week and it worked, so we'll be aggressive again this Friday.
"And we'll definitely be aggressive in the race, as well."