Michigan II: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON BACK TO WINNING WAYS AT MICHIGAN? BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 11, 2009) - Glad that an "easy" track is next up on the schedule, Jeff Gordon may have a great chance to get back to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway. On Monday,...

GORDON BACK TO WINNING WAYS AT MICHIGAN?

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 11, 2009) - Glad that an "easy" track is next up on the schedule, Jeff Gordon may have a great chance to get back to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway.

On Monday, Gordon was involved in a frightening accident at Watkins Glen International when Sam Hornish's Dodge slid into a tire barrier then spun directly into the path of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. The violent hit certainly did not help Gordon's already aching lower back.

"My back is stiff today, but I'll be fine and ready to go this weekend," Gordon said Tuesday afternoon. "Luckily, Michigan is up next and it's been pretty easy on my back in the past."

In 33 starts at the Irish Hills track, Gordon has two wins, five poles, 16 top-fives and 21 top-10's. In June, after starting from the rear of the field due to an engine change, Gordon finished second to teammate Mark Martin in the 400-mile event.

"We had a great car here in June and, after starting from the back, we were in position at the end of the race to battle for the win," said Gordon, who is third in the standings, 342 points behind leader Tony Stewart. "We've performed well on the intermediate tracks this year, so we're definitely looking at this race as one we can lead laps, run in the top five and hopefully be in contention for the win."

In seven starts on 1.5-mile and 2.0-mile tracks this year, Gordon has one win (Texas), four second-place finishes (California, Atlanta, Michigan and Chicago), one sixth- place finish (Las Vegas) and a 14th-place finish in a rain-shortened event (Charlotte).

While those solid finishes are the results of a team effort, the driver will play a crucial role during this Sunday's Carfax 400.

"When it comes to qualifying here, the car means a lot but the driver has to push hard," said Gordon. "This is a big, fast race track, so aerodynamics, mechanical grip, attitude and horsepower are pretty key.

"But once you get into the race and the car is starting to move around and the groove widens out, then the driver's role becomes greater. We'll have to search around for the groove that works best for our car.

"We have to make things happen."

Which could mean Gordon is back where he has been 82 times before - in Victory Lane.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Mark Martin , Sam Hornis