IT'LL BE HIGH-FIVES FOR GORDON IF HE GETS SOUTHERN 500 WIN DARLINGTON, S.C. - Jeff Gordon looks to break his own record once again as he sets his sights on a fifth consecutive Pepsi Southern 500 victory this Sunday at Darlington Raceway.
IT'LL BE HIGH-FIVES FOR GORDON IF HE GETS SOUTHERN 500 WIN
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Jeff Gordon looks to break his own record once again as he sets his sights on a fifth consecutive Pepsi Southern 500 victory this Sunday at Darlington Raceway. When Gordon drove his DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet to victory at Watkins Glen a few weeks ago, he broke his own record of four consecutive road course wins. His fifth win in as many road course events is unprecedented. With Darlington Raceway celebrating its 50th anniversary, it would be notable in a historic sense for Gordon to achieve this feat. Only Cale Yarborough has five Southern 500 victories. Yarborough's first Southern 500 win came in 1969. His fifth came 13 years later. "Darlington is one of these places you go to that's more than just a race track," said Gordon. "It's where a lot of things got started and it certainly has its place in history. "It's a tough, tough race track -- one of those tracks that no matter how perfect your day is going, you'll have a situation when you say, ‘Hey, I just barely made it through that.' "Darlington has turned into one of my favorite tracks. It wasn't one of my favorite places in the beginning, but eventually it became a place where I really enjoy racing." Gordon's admiration for Darlington probably came during his junior year as a Winston Cup competitor. In Gordon's first five starts, he only had one top-10. Make that one top-20. Then Gordon won his first race at Darlington. It was the Southern 500 in 1995 and he has won every Southern 500 since. In fact, in the last eight races at Darlington, Gordon has five wins, one second and two third-place finishes. So what is it that makes Gordon so dominant a the tracks that's considered too tough to tame? "We do well on long runs," said Gordon. "And we have a good combination of being able to save on tires with our setup and my driving style. "Darlington in a track that you have to have respect for. I like a track that's really challenging and keeps you on your toes all day long. It requires a lot of patience and focus on the part of the driver. "I'm the most focused when I'm battling with somebody – like when I was battling with Earnhardt in Michigan. You could have shot me in the foot and I wouldn't have known it at the time." Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Gordon finished fourth and gained 116 points on points leader Dale Jarrett who fell victim to a pair of accidents. Gordon is 351 points behind. "The championship is up to the 88 team (Jarrett) and how well they react and live up to the pressure," said Gordon. "Our job is to just get up as high in the points as we can. "Darlington can be the place where the championship is won or lost. However, I'm racing for wins and trying to get on the track we should have been on at the beginning of the season." And on track he is with four top-fours in the last four events and nine top-fours in the last 11 races. And racing for wins? Absolutely. Racing for five Southern 500s.