Darlington: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON WILL PUSH THE LIMITS IN SEARCH OF SEVENTH DARLINGTON WIN DARLINGTON, S.C. - There is no doubt about it. According to Jeff Gordon, Darlington Raceway is the toughest track on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup calendar. Gordon, who dominated last ...

GORDON WILL PUSH THE LIMITS IN SEARCH OF SEVENTH DARLINGTON WIN

DARLINGTON, S.C. - There is no doubt about it. According to Jeff Gordon, Darlington Raceway is the toughest track on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup calendar.

Gordon, who dominated last Sunday's event at Talladega Superspeedway to post his series-leading third win of the season and 72nd career victory, will look to capture his seventh career victory at the egg-shaped track in Saturday night's Dodge Charger 500.

"This is a tough track," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "Before they added the safer walls here last year, we were running up near the wall lap after lap.

"With the safer walls, there's 30 less inches of racing room that we didn't have to begin with."

Last November in the first night race held at Darlington, Gordon led 155 laps before a pit road miscue late in the event relegated him to third. The track "Too Tough To Tame" proved even tougher with the setting sun.

"The angle of the sun was so bad entering turn 3 that I couldn't even see the wall or the track," Gordon said. "I couldn't see anything.

"Hopefully, the late start of this race or the 'angle' of the sun won't cause any problems for us this weekend. We'll review the situation during practice on Thursday to see if we need to add tape to the windshield or add a tinted 'tear-off' to the shield of my helmet for the race."

Along with his six victories at the 1.366-mile track, the four-time Cup champion has collected three poles, 12 top-fives and 15 top-10's in 24 career starts. His five Southern 500 victories tie him with Cale Yarborough for the most all-time, and his 1,533 laps led is the most among active drivers.

"I love racing here," Gordon said. "I can remember the first time that I raced here in a Busch car thinking this place was so cool. It was fast and you were right up next to the wall. It reminded me of racing Sprint cars at Winchester for the first time.

"You tell yourself over and over to stay out of the wall but you are pushing the limits of the car, and those two don't mix.

"That's what makes this track -- without a doubt -- the most difficult track to race on the circuit."

-hms-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon