Chicagoland: Jeff Gordon preview

JOLIET, Ill. - Jeff Gordon enters this Sunday's Tropicana 400 at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway with momentum on his side, and redemption in his mind. In the last three races on three very different tracks, Gordon has chalked up two wins and...

JOLIET, Ill. - Jeff Gordon enters this Sunday's Tropicana 400 at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway with momentum on his side, and redemption in his mind.

In the last three races on three very different tracks, Gordon has chalked up two wins and three poles while leading almost 50 percent of the laps. It all started at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway when Gordon won the pole and led 81 of the first 88 laps before the engine blew in his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. On the twisting road course at Infineon, Gordon dominated the event, winning the race from the pole while leading 92 of 110 laps, a track record. Last Saturday night at Daytona, Gordon led 61 of 160 laps en route to winning the restrictor-plate race from the pole.

But the last time Gordon visited a 1.5-mile track, the result was less than impressive. At Charlotte in May, Gordon finished a disappointing 30th, seven laps down to winner Jimmie Johnson.

"We had a miserable race at Charlotte, and I think it lit a fire underneath us," Gordon said. "This team has been on a mission since then. "We're heading into this weekend with a lot of confidence. This DuPont team is on a roll right now. We've been strong week in and week out on different types of race tracks."

Gordon, who won his 68th race and 50th pole last weekend at Daytona, has visited Victory Lane at a record 19 of the 23 tracks currently on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. The only tracks that he has yet to win in NASCAR's premier division: Chicagoland Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Although he has never won at Chicago, Gordon is the only driver to complete every lap run at the 1.5-mile speedway. In three starts, he has two top-fives and an average finish of 7.6.

"I hope we can carry the momentum we have into this weekend and it translates into another strong performance," Gordon said. "It would be nice to win at a track that we haven't won on, yet. It's a cool statistic, but that's not my goal.

"My goal is to get better everywhere we go, try to win every race and, ultimately, win the championship.

"Winning at a track we've never won on would be 'icing on the cake.'"

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