Phoenix: Jeff Gordon preview

FIRST PHOENIX VICTORY MAY BE IN GORDON'S FUTURE AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 17, 2007) It is not a silver DeLorean and he will be driving much faster than 88 miles per hour when Jeff Gordon goes "back to the future" in the brightly-painted No. 24 ...

FIRST PHOENIX VICTORY MAY BE IN GORDON'S FUTURE

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 17, 2007) It is not a silver DeLorean and he will be driving much faster than 88 miles per hour when Jeff Gordon goes "back to the future" in the brightly-painted No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS this weekend in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Gordon, who had been critical of the "Car of Tomorrow" (CoT) prior to its debut in the fifth race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway, has had success in the "boxier," safer car. At Bristol, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion finished third. A week later, he finished second at Martinsville Speedway in the new car. In two CoT races, Gordon has a 2.5 average finish, tying him with teammate Kyle Busch for best average finish.

Following Martinsville, the teams returned to the "older" version car for last weekend's event at Texas Motor Speedway. This weekend? It's back to the future with the CoT at the flat one-mile Arizona track. "Bristol and Martinsville were good tracks for this car to be introduced," said Gordon, who currently leads the point standings by eight over Jeff Burton.

"They're short tracks and aerodynamics don't play much of a role in the handling of the car. It allowed us to understand the inspection process a little bit better and gave us a chance to learn what areas we can work on to gain mechanical grip. "I think this race will give us a better idea of where we are with the Car of Tomorrow. It's a lot faster track where aerodynamics are much more of a factor." In 16 career starts at PIR, Gordon has captured two poles, seven top-fives and 13 top-10's. But while he has completed all but three laps at the track since his rookie season of 1993, he's still looking for elusive victory number one.

"I really enjoy the challenge of this track, and we generally seem to run well here," Gordon said. "There were a couple of times I thought we had a shot at the victory but pit strategy or something else ruined those chances. There have been other times, though, when we fought the handling all day but salvaged a respectable finish. "This race should be very interesting with the new car. It's hard not to compare it to the current car which has a certain feel and comfort level that we don't yet have in the Car of Tomorrow. "But all teams are fighting through that. It may not give me the comfort level I'm looking for, but we have to get as much speed out of the car as possible while making it handle the best we can. "Hopefully, we do that better than the competition."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kyle Busch