Richmond: Jeff Gordon preview

IN RICHMOND, GORDON AND TEAM DUPONT HOPE TO BE COMPETITIVE AFTER SLUMP RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2007) -- After securing his second victory of the season at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend and moving into sole possession of sixth on the...

IN RICHMOND, GORDON AND TEAM DUPONT HOPE TO BE COMPETITIVE AFTER SLUMP

RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2007) -- After securing his second victory of the season at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend and moving into sole possession of sixth on the all-time list of career victories (77), Jeff Gordon's next goal is to be competitive -- at Richmond. Although the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Impala SS has posted two wins, four poles, 10 top-fives and 16 top-10's in 28 career starts at Richmond International Raceway (RIR), Gordon and Team DuPont have been less than pleased by their recent performance at the 0.75-mile Virginia track -- something they hope to turn around this weekend in the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400.

"I enjoy racing at Richmond because it offers us the opportunity to race side-by-side, lap- after-lap through the corners," said Gordon, who has not finished better than 30th in his last four races at RIR.

"It's a great event that's run under the lights, so it's exciting for the fans and the drivers. "But it hasn't been much fun for us the past few years. We've struggled here recently and we definitely want to turn that around."

In three previous races with the "Car of Tomorrow" (COT), Gordon has posted finishes of third (Bristol), second (Martinsville) and first (Phoenix). "We tested here a couple weeks ago with the new Impala SS and I was pleased with the results," said Gordon. "But we need to be sure to carry that over to this weekend."

Team DuPont enters this Saturday night's race with momentum on their side. They have "swept" the last two weekends at Phoenix International Raceway and Talladega, winning both events from the pole at two very different tracks in two very different cars. At Phoenix, Gordon raced the Impala SS -- Chevrolet's "Car of Tomorrow" model -- to victory at the relatively flat track.

Last Sunday, Gordon visited Victory Lane in the "older" version Monte Carlo on the high-banked Talladega track to secure his 14th consecutive multi-win season. Among active drivers, Tony Stewart ranks second in current consecutive multi-win seasons with eight (1999 - 2006).

Nine events into the season, Gordon leads the series in poles (4), top-fives (7), top-10's (8), average finish (4.1), average start (10.1), races led (8) and bonus points (55). But he does not lead the series in wins, and that could be crucial if he secures a berth in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup."

Earlier this year, NASCAR introduced a "seeding" system for those involved in the 2007 "Chase." Once the 12 eligible drivers are determined following race No. 26, the points will be reset with each driver receiving 10 additional points for each win accrued through that event.

"We're always trying to win but this year there's more of a premium on wins," said Gordon, who currently leads the point standings by 203 over Jeff Burton. "More wins mean more bonus points when the 'Chase' starts so, if you look at it that way, we're still 10 points down to our teammate, Jimmie Johnson, who has three wins right now.

"But there are still plenty of races left before then. We've had an amazing start to the year, but a lot can happen before September. I'm sure we'll face some obstacles before the season ends, and it's important to deal with those situations in the correct manner. "Richmond has been one of those obstacles recently for us."

A hurdle Team DuPont hopes to clear this Saturday night.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson