Texas II: Jeff Gordon preview

LONE WIN, POLE NOT ENOUGH FOR TEAM DUPONT AT TMS FORT WORTH, Texas. (November 3, 2009) - Having secured their lone victory and lone pole position in The Lone Star State within the past year, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont are confident entering ...

LONE WIN, POLE NOT ENOUGH FOR TEAM DUPONT AT TMS

FORT WORTH, Texas. (November 3, 2009) - Having secured their lone victory and lone pole position in The Lone Star State within the past year, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont are confident entering Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). But they need to take the "next" step to be competitive in this 500-mile race.

Not far removed from one of their worst performances in 17 years in the sport, Gordon and the No. 24 team bounced back from a 43rd-place finish at TMS in April of 2008 to secure their first pole at this track one year ago. The four- time NASCAR Cup Series champion led 15 laps en route to a second-place finish in the 334-lap race.

Although he "only" qualified second here earlier this year, Gordon led a race-high 105 laps to secure his first victory in his 17th start at the track.

"We had been so close in the past," said Gordon, who is third in the point standings and 192 behind leader Jimmie Johnson. "But, whether it was me hitting the wall late in the race while leading or an electrical issue while leading, we just never were able to win - so to get that first win here was great for us.

"To get another win, though, we'll need to take another step forward. If we showed up this weekend with the same setup we used in April, we'd run 15th. That's just the way the sport is. Everybody is constantly learning and the competition is constantly getting better and quicker."

Gordon and the No. 24 team certainly have adapted on the "intermediate" tracks since the 2008 "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" began. In 17 races on 1.5-to-2-mile ovals during that span, the 82-time winner has 12 top-fives, 16 top- 10's and a 4.35 average finish. His lone finish outside the top 10 was a 14th- place finish in the rain-shortened event at Charlotte in May.

"This whole DuPont team has worked hard to make our intermediate program better," said Gordon, who has seven top-fives and nine top-10's in 17 starts at the Texas track. "With this track being a part of the Chase, we also knew we needed to improve here.

"We're really looking forward to this weekend's race." Which may be the lone time Gordon has said that about a race at TMS.

-credit: hm

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