Going for two in a row -- Three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon tackles California DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2005) -- How do you trump a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500? Aim for two-in-a-row in the Auto Club 500. That's...
Going for two in a row -- Three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon tackles California
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2005) -- How do you trump a victory in the season-opening Daytona 500? Aim for two-in-a-row in the Auto Club 500.
That's Jeff Gordon's (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) goal this week as he completes the traditional Daytona 500 champion's media tour, plus anticipates race No. 2 on the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.
This year, the season's second event is at California Speedway, a change from last year, when the first of two California races fell in May. Gordon won that race, too -- the Auto Club 500 -- and now, on the heels of his third Daytona 500 triumph and 70th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory, he's eager to tackle another friendly track.
"To me, this weekend's a true tale of who is going to be strong throughout the year," Gordon said. "I'm looking forward to that opportunity. I think we've got a great car and a great team. I'm just hoping we use this as momentum and keep up the great work."
Clearly, Gordon takes to California's two-mile environs. He has three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins there (1997, 1999, 2004), tops among all drivers, and Hendrick Motorsports leads all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams with four California victories.
Do not think, however, that Gordon will coast into California, the state of his birth. The four-time series champion is keen on capturing a fifth title -- the Drive for Five in '05 is his team's unofficial slogan this season -- and Gordon knows winning the Daytona 500 doesn't always translate into sustained success.
"It's great to get the momentum and the season starting off right," Gordon said. "But this guarantees nothing as far as the championship is concerned. We're going to find out a lot more what we're really made of when we come out of California."