Jeff Gordon Darlington II preview

Sixth Win, Points Lead On Gordon's Mind Entering Darlington DARLINGTON, S.C. - Darlington Raceway may soon be known as the track "Too Tough To Tame...Except For Jeff Gordon." Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet, will attempt to win his ...

Sixth Win, Points Lead On Gordon's Mind Entering Darlington

DARLINGTON, S.C. - Darlington Raceway may soon be known as the track "Too Tough To Tame...Except For Jeff Gordon."

Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet, will attempt to win his sixth race in only 18 starts at Darlington Raceway -- an average of one win every three starts -- and increase his points lead in Sunday's Mountain Dew Southern 500. A win would also be his sixth of the 2001 season.

Gordon has one victory in the Darlington spring event and four victories in the annual Labor Day weekend Southern 500. His four Southern 500 victories came consecutively from 1995 to 1998.

Aside from the victories, Gordon has achieved three poles, nine top-fives, 11 top-10's and has led 860 laps in 17 starts at the 1.366-mile track. During an eight-race span from 1995-1999, he recorded five wins, one second and two thirds.

"We've done well here but have also had our fair share of black stripes at the end of the day," Gordon said. "The preferred line moves up as the race goes on, getting closer and closer to the wall. You drive each lap on the edge hoping not to go over it.

"You have to do that each lap for 500 miles. It's tough.

"As for taming Darlington, I don't think anyone ever will."

If he succeeds and visits victory lane on Sunday, Gordon would tie Cale Yarborough for the most all-time Southern 500 victories. David Pearson has the most victories (10) at the speedway referred to as the "Lady in Black."

"That's what makes a win here so special," Gordon said. "Earnhardt, Petty, Pearson, Waltrip, Yarborough -- all the drivers who helped build our sport -- have won here. We're racing on the same tough track that those guys won on."

Gordon, a three-time Winston Cup champion, enters the weekend with a commanding 308-point lead in the points standings aided by five victories, 15 top-fives and 17 top-10's. Having led 19 races and 1,765 laps, he has earned 140 lap leader bonus points. No other competitor has earned more than 85 bonus points.

Of his five victories this season, two can be attributed to the chassis Gordon will run this Sunday. Chassis 2451 was raced in Las Vegas, capturing the Winston No Bull-5 $1 million bonus with the victory, and at Dover where Gordon led 381 of 400 laps en route to victory. The chassis has no other starts.

If the chassis remains undefeated, Gordon will increase his points lead and be one step closer to taming Darlington.

-DuPont-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , David Pearson