Homestead Jeff Gordon Preview

Editors' Note --11th in a series Jeff Gordon: NASCAR Champion At his best in the big races HOMESTEAD, Fla. (August 11, 1999) -- On one hand, Jeff Gordon will approach the November 14 Pennzoil 400 with the same attitude he brings to every ...

Editors' Note --11th in a series

Jeff Gordon: NASCAR Champion

At his best in the big races

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (August 11, 1999) -- On one hand, Jeff Gordon will approach the November 14 Pennzoil 400 with the same attitude he brings to every NASCAR Winston Cup race -- he wants to win.

But at the same time, he realizes that the debut of NASCAR Winston Cup racing in South Florida is going to be a big event, and the 28-year-old superstar does his best in the big races.

"True, it's another race, and every race I go to, I want to win," said the three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion. "But new events -- especially in the South Florida area -- are very exciting for NASCAR, and I think you're going to see a lot of guys working hard to try to win the inaugural race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It's going to be the step for NASCAR really taking off in the South Florida area."

While he's a threat to win any race he enters, Gordon and the Hendrick Motorsports Dupont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet team is at their best when prestige and money are on the line. His 1994 victory in the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway solidified his claim as a NASCAR superstar. Gordon also won the opening race at California Speedway in 1997.

Other landmarks for the California native include a second Brickyard 400 victory in 1998; Daytona 500 triumphs in 1997 and 1999; and four consecutive victories in the Southern 500 (1995-98). He joined Bill Elliott as the only drivers to win the Winston Million in 1997 by capturing three of four major races. Since Winston instituted the "No Bull Five," he's captured the million dollar bonus three times.

Gordon currently is tied for the lead in victories for the current NASCAR Winston Cup season with four, has a million-dollar lead in money won ($4,179,241), leads the tour with seven Budweiser pole positions, and paces the field in laps and miles led. Yet he failed to finish an uncharacteristic six events, dropping him to sixth in the Winston Cup point standings with 14 races remaining.

Virtually eliminated from winning a fourth career -- and third consecutive -- Winston Cup title, it's a safe bet that Gordon will be on a mission when the Winston Cup teams invade Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time.

"It's a great race track, a beautiful facility," Gordon said. "It's also a very challenging race track. I think the Winston Cup cars are definitely going to put on a good show here."

A limited number of reserved grandstand seats and reserved recreational vehicle locations remain on sale for the Pennzoil 400. For tickets, call (305) 230-7223. For additional information, visit the official Homestead-Miami Speedway web site at www.racemiami.com.

Jeff Gordon on South Florida

"I think this race will be huge. Once the people get a taste of NASCAR Winston Cup racing, I think they're really going to enjoy it, and it's going to become a big part of the Miami area.

"One of the reasons I enjoy visiting South Florida is that I love the water, and I try to get out on the water as often as I could. I even enjoy strapping a tank on my back and going underneath the water. Every chance I get, I love to get down under the water and check out a whole new world."

Jeff Gordon statistic: In his record-breaking 1967 season, Richard Petty won 28 races -- including 10 in a row -- and won $130,275. In his 209 career NASCAR Winston Cup races, Jeff Gordon has averaged $144,441 per start.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Richard Petty