Bristol Jeff Gordon Preview

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 1998) Jeff Gordon could establish a new NASCAR record in this week's Goody's Headache Powders 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He will be attempting to capture his fifth consecutive victory in 1998. The ...

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 1998) Jeff Gordon could establish a new NASCAR record in this week's Goody's Headache Powders 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He will be attempting to capture his fifth consecutive victory in 1998.

The defending Winston Cup Champion tied the modern NASCAR Winston Cup record of four straight wins with his victory at Michigan last week. That puts him in company with Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Harry Gant and Mark Martin.

The driver of the No. 24 DuPont/Hendrick Motorsports has already accumulated eight wins on the circuit this season, including five triumphs in the last six races and he has increased his career total of victories to 37.

Gordon and his Rainbow Warriors Team are on such a fantastic roll right now, no question they are far and away the favorites in this week's 500-lap event at Bristol.

The reasons are obvious. Gordon has won two of the last three races on that half-mile, high-banked oval, including this spring's Food City 500 event, so he's after a 1998 sweep of the Bristol races.

In addition, the 27-year old racing phenomenon and his highly talented Hendrick Motorsports team are on a mission to win their second straight and third overall Winston Cup Championship. They also are intent on giving Hendrick Motorsports their fourth straight title, which would establish yet another NASCAR record. No team or driver has ever posted four straight championships.

Consider the racing statistics Gordon has accumulated this season, especially during the current streak of successes: Eight total wins, including five of the last six and four straight victories. In the last eight races, he has not finished lower than third place. Six pole positions, three in the last seven races. He has not started lower than sixth in the last 14 races (since Martinsville in April) He has started on the front row (either pole or outside pole) in nine of the last 12 races He is the leader in miles led in 1998 by almost double over Mark Martin, who is in second place in the miles-led category. Gordon has been in front for 2,060.31 miles to Martin's 1,157.55 miles. In laps led, Gordon is in front of Martin by a margin of 1,262 laps to Martin's 747 laps led Gordon also has led at least once in 17 of the 21 races run so far. The next closest are Martin and Dale Jarrett who have been in front in 15 of the 21 events No wonder, then, despite great, competitive runs by Martin, Gordon has increased his lead in the current point standings to 97 points (3,262 - 3,165) over Martin and the spread between Gordon and third-place Dale Jarrett is now at 233 points (3,262 - 3,029).

With teammate Terry Labonte's victory at Richmond earlier this season, HMS has recorded nine total wins in 1998, bringing the Hendrick Motorsports total number of victories to 80 since 1984.

Labonte and his No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Team are looking to post a win at Bristol this Saturday night, also. Unlike his normal, steady, competitive racing history, accidents in three of the last six races and an engine problem at Michigan last Sunday have dropped Labonte to ninth in the point standings. He and the Kellogg's Team are bent on turning those kinds of runs and finishes around and heading the other direction.

A good run at Bristol also is keen on the minds of Wally Dallenbach and the No. 50 Budweiser/Hendrick Motorsports team. They are hoping to keep a pretty good streak of their own going.

Dallenbach's first full-time ride in the Bud car for Hendrick was last week's race at Michigan, where he qualified seventh and finished eighth. That was his third top-10 finish in the four races he has run in the No. 50 Monte Carlo this year.

Ricky Hendrick, 17-year-old son of HMS founder Rick Hendrick, continues to hone his skills as a driver in the Late-Model Division at Concord Motor Speedway. Last Saturday evening, Hendrick posted a second-place finish after starting fifth. It was his third second-place finish of the season though 17 races. In the last 11 events at Concord, Hendrick has posted two wins, two seconds, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s, and he has been in the top-five in the last four races.

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Ricky Hendrick , Harry Gant , Cale Yarborough , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports