GOING UNSCATHED MEANS TOP FIVE FOR GORDON, MORE TIMES THAN NOT FORT WORTH, Tex. - When Jeff Gordon and his DuPont Automotive Finishes team of Rainbow Warriors complete races without mishaps, they almost always finish in the top five. They...
GOING UNSCATHED MEANS TOP FIVE FOR GORDON, MORE TIMES THAN NOT
FORT WORTH, Tex. - When Jeff Gordon and his DuPont Automotive Finishes team of Rainbow Warriors complete races without mishaps, they almost always finish in the top five.
They are hoping to go unscathed at Texas Motor Speedway for the first time in the third annual Primestar 500 this Sunday.
Last year at Texas, Gordon fell victim to an accident on lap two. To gain as many points as possible toward his third NASCAR Winston Cup championship, Gordon went back out and made enough laps to finish 31st in a 43-car starting field.
Since that event, Gordon was involved in an accident at Richmond with Rusty Wallace which took him out of the event leaving him with a 37th-place finish.
It was engine failure at Rockingham this February which forced Gordon to retire early from the event resulting in a 39th-place finish.
Other than those three events when there were circumstances beyond his control, Gordon has finished in the top five in all but one event since the 1998 Texas race. An eighth-place finish at the spring race at Martinsville last year was the only exception.
"We've got to concentrate on finishing races," said Gordon. "When we finish races an a regular basis, we find that we maintain the consistency which is necessary for winning championships.
"Having 17 top-five finishes in row and 26 overall last year really shows how strong this team is. When we don't have incidents that are beyond our control, we have good finishes."
In the inaugural event at Texas two years ago, Gordon also got caught up in an accident and finished 30th after leading 69 laps.
"We hope to run a few more laps at Texas," said Gordon. "We really don't have many here, but we feel like we can be competitive. We'll be racing the Busch car and the Winston Cup car this weekend and we hope that a little more track time will be beneficial."
A good finish for Gordon this weekend could also mean retaking the points lead. After finishing third in last weekend's event at Darlington Raceway, he is second in the point standings, only seven behind last week's race winner, Jeff Burton.
With the exception of the engine problem in Rockingham this year, Gordon's point position after the first five races of the season is a result of two wins--the Daytona 500 and the Cracker Barrel 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway--in addition to third-place finishes at Las Vegas and Darlington. Also, he has led a lap in every race this season and led the most laps in one event for a total of 30 bonus points.
Gordon also has two poles and has won the Winston No Bull 5 $1 million bonus at Daytona this year.
This weekend, Gordon hopes to make 334 laps around Texas Motor Speedway and knows that if he does, chances are, he will be in position to win in the end.