TEAM DUPONT WANTS RETURN TO VICTORY LANE AT LOWE'S CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2007) - Jeff Gordon has been to Victory Lane numerous times at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Recently, though, it has only been to congratulate his teammate Jimmie Johnson...
TEAM DUPONT WANTS RETURN TO VICTORY LANE AT LOWE'S
CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2007) - Jeff Gordon has been to Victory Lane numerous times at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Recently, though, it has only been to congratulate his teammate Jimmie Johnson who has won five of the last eight races held here. Gordon has experienced success at the 1.5-mile track including his first ever Cup Series victory in 1994, his first pole in NASCAR's premier division in 1993 and three victories in NASCAR's All-Star race. Overall, Gordon has posted four victories, seven poles (five straight in this event from 1994 - 1998), 13 top-fives and 15 top-10's in 28 "points- paying" races at the North Carolina track. But Gordon has not won a 600-mile event here since 1998, and his best finish in the past four races at Lowe's has been 24th. In fact, his only victory this century at the North Carolina track occurred in the 2001 All-Star event.
"We definitely struggled here for a few years, but we started to see improvement last season," said Gordon. "We ran strong in this event last year but got caught up in an accident late in the race.
"In the fall event, we were running second or third when we had engine problems. And last Saturday night, I thought we had a shot at battling for the win until the flat tire." During the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, Gordon ran over a piece of debris while he was running second. The damage to the front valance and tire ruined his chance at a $1 million payday, but Gordon was able to keep the No. 24 car from suffering any more damage.
Team DuPont's run, though, created more work for themselves. "We hadn't planned on using that car during the '600,' but we were real happy with how the new chassis performed last Saturday night," crew chief Steve Letarte said. "The guys in the shop who never get enough credit worked really hard to get this car turned around.
"We had some crew members come into the shop Sunday to assess the damage. On Monday morning, we had a crew in here at 5 a.m. pulling the motor and suspension, and a little after lunch they were prepping it to be painted."
The transformation from a "reverse" paint scheme promoting DuPont Performance Alliance to a special DuPont/Department of Defense "America Supports You" paint scheme is the work of a lot of dedicated Hendrick Motorsports employees, according to Gordon. "The people that work in the shops, whether it's at Hendrick Motorsports or at another team, live this sport. They have so much passion for racing and this is their livelihood, as well.
"But the real thanks goes to the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country every single day. We are able to race and do what we love because of their hard work and dedication to our country."