BROOKLYN, Mich. - They say that race car drivers hit their prime after they turn 30. Richard Petty recorded 144 of his record 200 victories and six of seven championships after he turned 30. Likewise, the late Dale Earnhardt won 70 of 76 races and...
BROOKLYN, Mich. - They say that race car drivers hit their prime after they turn 30. Richard Petty recorded 144 of his record 200 victories and six of seven championships after he turned 30. Likewise, the late Dale Earnhardt won 70 of 76 races and six of seven championships after turning 30. If this is any indication, then NASCAR Winston Cup racing has only seen the beginning of Jeff Gordon's dominance.
After turning 30 on August 4, Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has increased his lead in NASCAR Winston Cup points to 194 by winning the Brickyard 400 for a record third time and following it up with a record-breaking seventh road course victory at Watkins Glen last Sunday.
As the Winston Cup Series rolls into Michigan International Speedway this weekend, Gordon, who won from the pole at Michigan in June, hopes to stay undefeated after turning 30. In 17 career starts at Michigan, he has two wins, three poles and 12 top-five finishes.
"I think we've got a great shot this weekend," said Gordon. "Our confidence level is sky high and we've built up a lot of momentum."
The No. 24 DuPont team is also racing one of their best cars this weekend. The car has visited victory lane the last two races it has entered (Michigan and Indianapolis) and, in six races this season, it has finished outside the top five only once - due to a pit road incident at Charlotte in a race that they had dominated up to that point.
"We've been able to hit the right setups with this car and it has paid off with a bunch of top-fives and a couple wins," said Gordon. "Hopefully we haven't used up all that good fortune."
The team's good fortune has been consistent this season as they currently lead almost every major statistical category: wins (5), poles (5), top-fives (14), races led (18), laps led (1,566), average finish (10.5), average start (9.3) and bonus points (130). But to Gordon, the most important statistic is who is leading in points after the final race. "All those wins and stats aren't near as important as winning the championship," said Gordon. "Each week we try to collect bonus points and finish as high as we can. If we happen to be in a position to win at the end of the race then we'll go for it."
Just like they're going for a third straight win after Gordon's 30th birthday and a fourth Winston Cup championship.