Charlotte II: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON HOPES TO CATCH SIGHT OF CHECKERED FLAG AT LOWE'S CONCORD, N.C. (October 9, 2007) - It's only been a few days since Jeff Gordon was the first driver to pass underneath the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway. However, it's been three...

GORDON HOPES TO CATCH SIGHT OF CHECKERED FLAG AT LOWE'S

CONCORD, N.C. (October 9, 2007) - It's only been a few days since Jeff Gordon was the first driver to pass underneath the checkered flag at Talladega Superspeedway. However, it's been three years since the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has even seen the checkered flag at Lowe's Motor Speedway, site of this Saturday night's Bank of America 500.

Gordon, who collected his 80th career victory on Sunday, has run well recently at LMS -- he just does not have the finishes to prove it. In May of 2005, Gordon overcame damage to his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (caused by a piece of sealer that became dislodged from the track) only to be caught up in a late-race multi-car accident. Later that year, he hit the turn 4 wall while running sixth and retired from the event early.

Then, in 2006, a broken hub in the 600-miler ended his race early, and a blown engine in the Fall race with less than 35 laps remaining ended a top-five run. The misfortune continued in May of this year. Gordon started 32nd and was running fifth on lap 61 when he was involved in an accident with a lapped car.

That DNF (did not finish) is the only time Gordon has failed to finish a race this year. That statistic, along with five wins, the series lead in top-fives (18) and the series lead in top- 10's (24), has attributed to a 7.7 average finish this season for Team DuPont. Second in that category is teammate Jimmie Johnson, who has a 12.1 average finish.

"I just want to get to the finish of a race here - it's been a long time since we've done that," said Gordon, who currently leads the point standings by nine over Johnson. "The cars have performed well, it's just been one thing or another that has kept us from getting the good finish.

"I expect the guys in the Chase to have strong performances, but the guys not in it have nothing to lose and can gamble on setup or fuel mileage. Jimmie runs very well here, and I thought Tony (Stewart) was strong here in May, too.

"But we won't focus on the competition. We'll focus on making the No. 24 car the best it can possibly be.

"And making it to the end of the race."

In 29 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Gordon has four wins including his first ever in the Cup Series in 1994, seven poles including his first in NASCAR's premier division in 1993, 13 top-fives and 15 top-10's.

"I've had some great moments at this track but, recently, I've only been to Victory Lane to congratulate teammates," said Gordon, whose last win occurred here in 1999. "Instead of visiting, I hope we're celebrating there on Saturday night.

"If we do our job right, I know we'll be in contention for the win."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson