DOVER, Del. - While the MBNA America 400 is scheduled for Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Friday's qualifying session could lead to a "Monster" weekend for Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont. Gordon, who is currently third in points and only...
DOVER, Del. - While the MBNA America 400 is scheduled for Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Friday's qualifying session could lead to a "Monster" weekend for Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont.
Gordon, who is currently third in points and only nine out of the lead, has started in the top 10 in 15 of his 23 starts at "The Monster Mile." In those 15 races, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has finished outside the top 10 only three times, but has amassed four wins and an average finish of 7.4.
"We'd like to start up front every weekend," Gordon said. "The obvious advantage is less traffic to deal with and track position. Because pit lane is so narrow and small at Dover, it seems we fight harder for track position here compared to other tracks on the circuit.
"Good track position can lead to even better track position. Every position is crucial, but especially against drivers that are pitting near you. A clean entry into your pit stall can save a lot of time, and allow you to gain some positions.
"With pit stall selection based on qualifying results, it puts a premium on Friday's qualifying. The teams that qualify up front select (pit stalls) first. That's a big advantage, especially if you can choose one that has an opening either in front of it or behind it."
Gordon enters the 400-mile event with an 8.4 average start this season, tops on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. He also leads the series in wins (five), poles (six), top 10's (19) and races led (20).
At Dover, home of the DuPont Monster Bridge, Gordon has captured 11 top-fives and 15 top-10's in 23 starts. He has led a lap in 15 events for a total of 2,115, the most among active drivers.
With four drivers within 10 points of the lead, bonus points may play a factor in determining this year's champion. Five bonus points are awarded to each driver that leads a lap during an event with five additional bonus points given to the driver who leads the most laps. Gordon has earned the most bonus points this year with 130. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart rank second and third in that category with 110 and 95, respectively.
"Every weekend, if I have the opportunity to lead a lap, then I lead a lap," Gordon said. "If I can lead the most laps, I try to lead the most laps. If I can win the race, I try to win the race.
"I don't know how you can approach it any differently."