Jeff Gordon is Favorite at Rockingham

Gordon a favorite... again By Shawn A. Akers ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 20, 1999) "How to stop the Jeff Gordon Express" -- it should be the title of a self-help book for every other driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Whether or not Gordon can...

Gordon a favorite... again By Shawn A. Akers

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (Feb. 20, 1999) "How to stop the Jeff Gordon Express" -- it should be the title of a self-help book for every other driver in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Whether or not Gordon can be stopped is the question, however. And that holds especially true at North Carolina Speedway, the site of Sunday's Dura-Lube/Big Kmart 400.

Not only is Gordon the two-time defending NASCAR Winston Cup champion, and not only is he coming off a victory last Sunday in the Daytona 500, but he's also won three of the last four races at "The Rock."

Gordon swept both events at the 1.017-mile oval last season, and he's certainly one of the favorites to win again on Sunday. Gordon also won the February race in 1997 and the February race in 1995, the latter being the last 500-mile race held at North Carolina Speedway.

But don't tell Gordon he's the man to beat on Sunday. He's still a bit leery about the 1999 season heading into Rockingham.

"Whether or not the (Daytona) 500 wins is an indication of what's to come for the rest of '99, we'll have to wait and see," said Gordon, who'll start from the third position on Sunday after a qualifying lap of 157.167 mph on Saturday. "The next couple of weeks will give us a better indication of how competitive the other teams will be.

"Last season was last season. This is a new season. We're trying to come here to Rockingham and get the best finish we can. I feel very good about this race track. The last two times we've been here, we've been very strong."

Gordon hasn't lost a NASCAR Winston Cup Series points race since Oct. 25 last year, when Rusty Wallace won the Dura-Lube/Kmart 500 at Phoenix Inernational Raceway. He closed out the 1998 campaign with wins at Rockingham and Atlanta, tying him with Richard Petty for the most victories in one season in the modern era with 13.

He came from behind last week at Daytona to nip Dale Earnhardt and win his second Daytona 500 in three years. To say that Gordon is on a major roll would be an understatement, and there's no reason to believe he'll slow down at North Carolina Speedway on Sunday.

Gordon won four consecutive races last season before his streak was stopped by Mark Martin at Bristol in late August.

"I don't know about the four in a row thing," Gordon said. "We're just trying to put together a good string of runs. Those top-5s we had last year to me impressed me the most. That's what we want to try to continue to do. We know we've got a car capable of winning, but you've got to have all the circumstances work out of you at the same time."

"Every race is important, but I think the downforce tracks are the ones hat are really important. That's what we have in store."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Rusty Wallace , Richard Petty , Mark Martin