Texas: Jeff Gordon preview

AT TEXAS: In 18 Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Gordon has posted one win, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s. Gordon, who also has earned two pole positions, averages a start of 9.4 and has led 457 laps at the 1.5-mile ...

AT TEXAS: In 18 Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Gordon has posted one win, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s. Gordon, who also has earned two pole positions, averages a start of 9.4 and has led 457 laps at the 1.5-mile oval.

MOST RECENTLY AT TEXAS: Gordon earned the top qualifying position for last November's Sprint Cup race at Texas, making 2009 his 17th straight season to earn at least one pole position. Gordon ranks fourth on all-time pole award winner's list with 68 and is one away from tying Yarborough.

SPECIAL FORCES: The National Guard will honor Special Forces on the hood of the No. 24 Chevy this weekend at Texas. The Army National Guard Special Forces is an unconventional combat arms organization filled with trained, seasoned professional Soldiers that receive some of the best training in the Army National Guard. Special Forces Soldiers are carefully selected and among the most versatile Special Operations Soldiers in the World.

LOOP DATA AT TEXAS: According to NASCAR's loop data compiled during the last 10 races at Texas, Gordon ranks first in closers, sixth in fastest on restarts (171.553 mph), sixth in laps led (325 laps), ninth in fastest laps run (139) and 10th in driver rating with a score of 91.4.

DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon is ranked fifth in the driver standings going into Sunday's event at Texas. After seven races this season, Gordon has scored three top-five finishes, three top-10s and led 327 laps.

TEXAS CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-554 for Sunday's race at Texas. Gordon last drove this car at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August 2009.

NATIONAL GUARD AND THE NO. 24 TEAM: For the second year in a row, Gordon and the No. 24 team will be sponsored by the National Guard for eight Sprint Cup Series events.

TRAINING DAY: On Thursday, Gordon will train with the Texas Army National Guard Special Forces Soldiers at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) facility in Maxwell, Texas. Gordon will fly in a Black Hawk helicopter, participate in mission planning, familiarize himself with sniper systems, pistol and rifle guns at shooting ranges as well as learn what it takes to be a Special Forces Soldier while in close quarters combat. Gordon also will unveil the special No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Special Forces Chevrolet paint scheme for the April 18 race at Texas Motor Speedway to the Soldiers at the facility.

*** \ JEFF GORDON, DRIVER, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD SPECIAL FORCES CHEVROLET (ON TEXAS.): "The win last year definitely has given us some confidence when we go to Texas. I feel like we're a little bit closer to knowing what we need to go faster there. We've certainly had the car dialed in for qualifying there lately, and that's big at Texas. That definitely gives you a much better chance to win. So I look forward to that.

"However, the last time we were there, we weren't that great. What we had at the beginning of last year didn't seem to be as competitive towards the end of the season, and that's just the competition getting better. It's still same old Texas for us. It's a tough place. But we know we can win there, and if our cars keep driving the way that they've been driving this year, especially at the bigger tracks, then I think we have a shot at winning there again."

GORDON (ON RECOGNIZING SPECIAL FORCES ON THE NO. 24 CHEVROLET THIS WEEKEND.): "After learning what these specially trained Soldiers do for our country and how they successfully adapt to current combat situations, I was amazed and also proud to know we have men and women like that fighting for our country's freedom. The DuPont/National Guard team is excited to recognize Special Forces on our car this weekend, and I look forward to giving them the recognition they deserve for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to keep our country safe."

GORDON (ON TRAINING WITH THE TEXAS ARMY NATIONAL GUARD SPECIAL FORCES SOLDIERS ON THURSDAY.): "I'm excited and privileged to have the opportunity to train with the Texas Army National Guard Special Forces Soldiers this week before going to the racetrack. I've been told that the training to become a Special Forces Soldier is intense, and that they are put to the test both physically and mentally. Only the best of the best are selected in the end. It'll be interesting to go through what they go through, and I know I'll have an even better appreciation for what Special Forces Soldiers do for our country."

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD SPECIAL FORCES CHEVROLET (ON IF WINNING AT TEXAS LAST APRIL GIVES THE TEAM CONFIDENCE.): "It does and it doesn't. I think anytime you have success at a track it breeds confidence. But the concern we have is that we didn't have the best race there in the fall, and that track is still very tricky for us. We have a lot of confidence in our DuPont/National Guard Special Forces race team. We've been very fast this year, but Texas is a tricky track for us. We're excited to go back and try to redeem ourselves from last fall."

LETARTE (ON RUNNING THE NEW SPOILER AT TEXAS.): "Texas will really be the true test of the spoiler. We've run it at Martinsville and Phoenix, but with both of those being relatively short tracks, it's not quite the same. I think Texas is the first place you're going to see a big effect on it in traffic. We were able to test it at Charlotte (N.C.), and the test went well so we're excited to get to Texas. But one thing you don't do in testing is double-file restarts or some really close racing, and I think that's going to be the biggest change we see. How it will affect it? We're not really sure, so that's going to be a big race for us at Texas. But Jeff (Gordon) was comfortable with the car with the spoiler so hopefully that will give us an advantage going to Texas. Hendrick Motorsports has so many engineers, so many smart people that we feel we have a pretty good head start on it, and hopefully it will work out."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon
Teams Hendrick Motorsports