Martinsville: Jeff Gordon preview

A PAIR OF 'EIGHTS' AT MARTINSVILLE FOR TEAM DUPONT? MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 24, 2009) - Octo-pop? Eighth pole could lead to eighth win at Martinsville Speedway for Jeff Gordon. Gordon, who leads the point standings by 76 entering Sunday's ...

A PAIR OF 'EIGHTS' AT MARTINSVILLE FOR TEAM DUPONT?

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 24, 2009) - Octo-pop? Eighth pole could lead to eighth win at Martinsville Speedway for Jeff Gordon.

Gordon, who leads the point standings by 76 entering Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at the 0.526-mile track, has collected seven wins, seven poles, 20 top-fives and 26 top-10's with only three finishes outside the top 12 in 32 starts at the 0.526-mile track. In fact, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS has recorded feight straight top- ive finishes here.

The secret is the same, no matter if Gordon is on the track during a single-car qualifying run or racing against 42 other competitors.

"You must have a lot of patience here," said Gordon, who posted his 250th career top-five finish last Sunday. "Just to run a single lap by yourself, you have to be patient and not overdrive the car. And you certainly need to be more patient when it comes to traffic.

"From an observer's vantage point, it's probably just one constant flow of cars. But for me, it's just that one, two or three cars ahead of me that I'm focusing on.

"You get into such a rhythm and such a zone here - it's amazing on how you block out how much traffic there really is. I don't even think about there being 40 cars on the track."

However, according to Gordon, a crucial part of the weekend occurs when there is only one car on the track.

"With pit stall selection based on the qualifying results, posting a good effort on Friday helps your chances tremendously on Sunday," said Gordon. "There are only a handful of pit stalls here worth having. "Pit stall number 1 is the obvious choice, and there is another one on the front straightaway that has an opening (in front of the stall). You can also make pit stall no. 2 work, but you are always going to be concerned about the car pitted ahead of you.

"I think a lot of our race success can be attributed to our qualifying success. It's certainly not impossible to get a win or a good finish when starting outside the front row."

No. 8 on Sunday just becomes more likely to occur after securing No. 8 on Friday.

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon