Fontana: Jeff Gordon preview

DuPont team 'rushes' for 'gold' in Fontana. FONTANA, Calif. - The No. 24 DuPont team has packed up and headed west for this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in search of gold. The 'gold' comes in the form of a trophy to a race team...

DuPont team 'rushes' for 'gold' in Fontana.

FONTANA, Calif. - The No. 24 DuPont team has packed up and headed west for this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in search of gold. The 'gold' comes in the form of a trophy to a race team that has achieved four NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships and 62 victories.

With the momentum of a win at Martinsville, Gordon enters this weekend's event looking to continue his ascension up the Winston Cup point standings. He has gained 12 positions over the last four races and now sits third, 139 behind leader Matt Kenseth.

"It's such a relief to get a win this early in the season and to place ourselves in a competitive position for the championship," Gordon said. "I've said all year that this DuPont team has been running well, we just needed everything to come together for a victory.

"Our goal right now is consistency and winning a fifth championship. Right now, we're taking things one race at a time."

Last year at this time, Gordon had yet to win a race and would not gain his first win until late in the season at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition, he was only seventh in the points race at this point last season, 201 points behind the leader.

"We were inconsistent a lot last year and that's what loses championships not wins them," Gordon said. "It seems like we've been running well each week this year, we just didn't have the finishes early on to prove it. Over the last six races, we've consistently finished in the top-10, which has put us in the position to contend for the championship.

California Speedway has hosted only six NASCAR Winston Cup races with Gordon visiting Victory Lane three times - twice as a driver (1997 and 1999) and once as an owner. Last year, Gordon's teammate, Jimmie Johnson, won the Auto Club 500 - Gordon's first win as a car owner.

"Jimmie's win last year was an amazing experience," Gordon said. "It actually felt awkward being in Victory Lane as a car owner and not a driver. We knew that team could do it, but I was a little surprised it came so early in the season."

Gordon has a record of success in Fontana. In addition to his two wins, he started on the pole in 1998, has four top-five finishes and his worst finish was 16th at the two-mile D-shaped oval. Gordon leads the series with a 5.8 average finish at California Speedway.

"We've had a lot of success in Fontana," Gordon said. "We have fun racing here and are looking forward to a strong finish to continue our consistency."

-pprplus-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson