AT ATLANTA: In 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon has posted four wins, 14 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. He also has earned two pole positions and led 1,128 laps. PREVIOUSLY AT ATLANTA: In this race...
AT ATLANTA: In 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon has posted four wins, 14 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. He also has earned two pole positions and led 1,128 laps.
PREVIOUSLY AT ATLANTA: In this race last year, Gordon recorded a runner-up finish and led 47 laps with the National Guard featured on his No. 24 Chevrolet. More recently, Gordon started fourth and scored an eighth-place finish last September at Atlanta. The four-time Sprint Cup champion led 30 laps and spent 97.5 percent (317 laps) running inside the top 15.
ALL-TIMER: Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet, ranks sixth on the all-time career Cup wins list with 82 and fourth in all-time career Cup poles with 68. The NASCAR veteran is only one victory and one pole away from tying Cale Yarborough, who ranks fifth and third, respectively.
2009 STATS IN THE NATIONAL GUARD CAR: In eight outings last year with the National Guard on the hood of his No. 24 Chevrolet, Gordon scored an average finish of 4.375. His best effort was a win at Texas Motor Speedway in April, while he scored runner-up finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Michigan International Speedway in June and Chicagoland Speedway in July. He finished fifth at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May, third at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September and fifth at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October.
LOOP DATA AT ATLANTA: According to NASCAR's loop data compiled during the last five years at Atlanta, Gordon ranks second in average running position (9.985), second in laps in the top 15 (2,709), third in driver rating (102.2), fourth in closers, fifth in fastest drivers early in a run (176.318 mph) and fifth in fastest on restarts (172.724 mph).
DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon is ranked 13th in the driver standings going into Sunday's event at Atlanta. After three races this season, Gordon has scored one top-five finish and led 232 laps.
ATLANTA CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-581 for Sunday's race at Atlanta. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced or tested.
HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports owns 10 wins, 47 top-five finishes and 73 top-10s in 52 events (163 starts) at Atlanta. Rick Hendrick is the winningest owner at the 1.54-mile oval, leading Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, which have nine wins apiece.
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. In addition to this weekend at Atlanta, Gordon will partner with the National Guard at seven other venues: Texas Motor Speedway on April 18, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on May 8, Michigan International Speedway on June 13, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 11, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 19, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Oct. 24, and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 31.
JEFF GORDON, DRIVER, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON HAVING THE NATIONAL GUARD AS A SPONSOR AGAIN IN 2010.): "It was an honor having the National Guard as a sponsor last season and being able to recognize some of the special initiatives they have in place. When we won at Texas, not only was it a proud moment for me since it was the first time I won at the track, but it was great to have members of the National Guard in Victory Lane there to celebrate with us.
"I'm thankful for the men and women who serve in the National Guard every day. They allow us to have the freedom to do what we love, and the National Guard has given a lot back to our nation. We ran well when we had the National Guard on the hood last season, so I hope to continue that streak this weekend in Atlanta. This DuPont/National Guard team will do all we can this season to put on a good show and have solid finishes."
STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON HAVING THE NATIONAL GUARD ON BOARD AGAIN IN 2010.): "We seem to have a lot of success with the National Guard car. They are a great partner to have, and I've been fortunate enough to visit their hospitality at the racetrack a few times, and it's an impressive facility. It's really a first-class operation, and to have the National Guard as a partner on the No. 24 car is really exciting. They always provide unique messaging, and the paint schemes they come up with are always really cool. We've always run well when the National Guard's on the hood, so hopefully at Atlanta we can continue our successful streak and have a good weekend."
LETARTE (ON THE BENEFIT ON HAVING A VETERAN DRIVER AT ATLANTA.): "It's huge, especially at a place like Atlanta. When you go to Atlanta, you want an experienced driver giving you feedback. Practice is difficult there, tires fall off and it is very hard to read whether you have a good car or a bad car. So having an experienced driver like Jeff (Gordon) is great. He can be 35th on the board, and he can look you in the face and say, 'No, that thing is driving just like we need it. Don't worry about that one fast lap. Our average is real good. We are going to be good in the race.' And he is right way more than he is wrong."
LETARTE (ON ATLANTA.): "Atlanta is almost its own animal as far as the old pavement, which I am a huge fan of. I think it makes for great racing. Atlanta's really a driver's racetrack. You can get the car close, and it's kind of up to Jeff to make up the difference. Jeff is very good at that. He always finds the multiple grooves, especially in Turns 1 and 2. There are three real distinct grooves in the way to get around there. We have been very successful there with a very consistent setup for multiple years now. One big thing about Atlanta is you want to run well there because that leads up to the Chase when you go back in September. That race is really close to the Chase so you want to have a good confidence going back there when you are trying to lock yourself into the Chase."
LETARTE (ON ATLANTA BEING A TOUGH RACETRACK BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY.): "Atlanta is kind of like running a long distance race. You have to be very paced, not only on Sunday, but really the whole weekend. The weekend itself is one of the tougher weekends earlier in the year. You've been in Daytona (Beach, Fla.) for two weeks, then you go West Coast and then West Coast again, so you're having to deal with all the different time changes. Then you go to Atlanta, and it's usually cold and wet. So the most important thing is to take care of your team guys and encourage them to get some rest, stay warm and realize how long of a weekend it's going to be. Jeff, fortunately for us, he's done it so many times that he is very good. I think that is one of his strong suits is that he's good at a very paced racetrack like Atlanta. Jeff can set a really good pace and usually maintain it all day."