Texas II: Jeff Gordon preview

Texas Victory Has Eluded Gordon So Far FORT WORTH, Texas (October 31, 2006) Only three remain, and Texas Motor Speedway may be the toughest challenge for Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont. Gordon, who is seventh in the standings, is 146 points ...

Texas Victory Has Eluded Gordon So Far

FORT WORTH, Texas (October 31, 2006) Only three remain, and Texas Motor Speedway may be the toughest challenge for Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont. Gordon, who is seventh in the standings, is 146 points behind leader Matt Kenseth with only races at Texas, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway remaining this season. Coincidentally, those three are the only tracks where Gordon has yet to visit Victory Lane in NASCAR's premier series.

Earlier this year, the four-time Cup Series champion captured his 75th career victory at Chicagoland Speedway – his first win at the 1.5-mile speedway. Gordon has now collected victories at a record 19 of the 22 tracks currently on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule. "This is a difficult race track," Gordon said. "It's very fast, the transitions in the corners are very abrupt and the walls come at you pretty fast. It's a track that challenges all of us, but one that I enjoy. "I'm looking forward to this weekend's race, and having two races a year here will help us get our first win."

In the inaugural event in 1997, Gordon led 69 laps but was involved in an accident and finished 30th. After three more finishes of 25th or worse from 1998 to 2000, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet collected four consecutive top-five finishes from 2001 to 2004. However, it was 2004 when Gordon thought he had a real shot at the win. Leading with less than 26 laps to go, he lost power on his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. After switching to his backup battery, he recovered to finish third.

"That was very disappointing," Gordon said. "We had a great shot at the victory – with probably the best handling car I've ever had here – but electrical problems ruined that opportunity. "We haven't been the same here since."

Last year marked the first time the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visited Texas twice during a season, and Team DuPont scored 14th and 15th-place finishes in those two events. Even after finishing 22nd here earlier this year, Gordon is full of optimism heading into the Dickies 500. "I've said from the beginning that this race was the one I was most concerned about performance-wise during the Chase," said Gordon. "We don't have a good track record here recently, which gives us concern. "But we've made a lot of changes with the car, the set-ups and the team, and our intermediate program has improved since we last visited Texas." Which means this could be his last trip to Texas without a "W."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth