GORDON AHEAD OF PACE SET BY TEAM DUPONT HEADING INTO DOVER DOVER, Del. (September 19, 2006) First is better than third, but third is better than 8.7. Heading into the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont had their eye...
GORDON AHEAD OF PACE SET BY TEAM DUPONT HEADING INTO DOVER
DOVER, Del. (September 19, 2006) First is better than third, but third is better than 8.7. Heading into the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup," Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont had their eye on 8.7; the average finishing position of last year's champion during the final 10 races. After a third-place finish in New Hampshire, the four-time Cup Series champion is ahead of that pace heading into Sunday's Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway.
"Our focus going into every race is to win it, and this week is no different," said Gordon, who is fourth in the standings and 50 behind leader Kevin Harvick. "With DuPont's headquarters so close to Dover, we would love to get a win for them. "A win would be great for us, as well, but we know we don't have to win a single race to win the championship. The average finish of the champion last year was 8.7, and our goal during these final 10 races is to do better than that."
In previewing the final 10 races, Gordon singled out three tracks: New Hampshire, Texas and "possibly" Phoenix; as stumbling blocks for the No. 24 team. While his last three finishes at Dover were 12th, 37th and 39th, the driver of the DuPont Chevrolet is optimistic heading into the 400-mile event. "We were involved in two wrecks here last year, and one of those was while we were running in the top five early in the race," Gordon said. "In June of this year, we led a lot of laps (81) but just couldn't get the car adjusted to where it needed to be at the end of the race."
In an effort to get a better handle on the car at the end of the race, the team will use a brand new chassis this weekend. "This car has been ready for months, we were just saving it for the Chase," crew chief Steve Letarte said. "It's a sister' to the car we won with at Chicago with a similar aero package; a package that has been successful for us this year."
While his last three finishes at Dover were outside the top 10, Gordon has experienced success at the one-mile track in the past. In 27 starts here, Gordon has collected four wins, two poles, 12 top-fives and 16 top-10's. He has paced the field for 2,197 laps; the most among active drivers; for an average of 81 laps led per event. In fact, he has led 300 or more laps on four occasions, including his last victory here in 2001 when he led 381 of 400 laps. "We'd love to have another day like that," Gordon said. "But I don't mind leading only one lap; if it's the last one." A result that is certainly better than 8.7.