J. Gordon looks for unexpected at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. - With $1 million on the line for five drivers, expect the unexpected. Jeff Gordon, by virtue of his win in Richmond, is eligible for a million-dollar bonus from Winston as part of its "No Bull 5" program. All he must do...

TALLADEGA, Ala. - With $1 million on the line for five drivers, expect the unexpected. Jeff Gordon, by virtue of his win in Richmond, is eligible for a million-dollar bonus from Winston as part of its "No Bull 5" program. All he must do to collect is win the Winston 500 on Sunday. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. NASCAR has instituted new rules that should make this weekend's race at Talladega more competitive. "We were part of the test that NASCAR conducted in Daytona a few weeks ago," Gordon said. "The cars, with the modifications, were punching a bigger hole into the air. With the larger opening in the restrictor plates, it gave the driver more throttle control making it easier to pass. There should be a couple different leaders each lap." Gordon and the DuPont team tested here last week in an attempt to get familiar with the new rules. "We really worked hard on our qualifying setup," Gordon said. "While we won this race in the spring starting from 36th, I'd rather start closer to the front because of the traffic and the new rules. "We won't be in racing trim until Saturday's practice. That is also when we'll start drafting with other cars in anticipation of Sunday's race." What happens when the race starts? "I have no idea whatsoever," Gordon said. "While the driver's will learn a lot during Saturday's practice, it is a whole new ball game with 43 drivers going for the win on Sunday. "I expect a lot of leaders and a lot of lead changes. Spotters will be busy letting us know where other cars are and possibly working deals with other teams. "But the problem is deciding when all deals are off. And with four other guys going for a million dollars, you never know who you can trust." Gordon captured his 50th career Winston Cup victory with his win earlier this year here. He has one other win at this speedway -- the 1996 Winston 500 -- along with six top-fives, seven top-10's and has led 338 laps in 15 starts. "I've led a lot of laps during races here only to be shuffled back at the end," Gordon said. "You have to think ahead and put yourself in a position to win. "With these new rules, I expect the drivers to try different things during the race in anticipation of the last few laps. "And then I expect the last few laps to be intense. The winner may just make his final move on the last lap through the dogleg coming to the checkers. "I've got a million reasons to hope it's me making that move."

                    
                    

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon