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GORDON HOPES TO DOMINATE, BUT WIN AT DOVER DOVER, Del. – When Jeff Gordon, driver of the DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet, returns to Dover Downs for this Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400, he hopes to be crowned the winner in addition to...

GORDON HOPES TO DOMINATE, BUT WIN AT DOVER

DOVER, Del. – When Jeff Gordon, driver of the DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet, returns to Dover Downs for this Sunday's MBNA Platinum 400, he hopes to be crowned the winner in addition to dominating the race. Last year, Gordon all but monopolized the race by leading 375 of 400 laps. However, he had to pit for fuel with eight laps remaining and finished third. The decision to pit was made as an alternative to taking a chance that the No. 24 car could make it to the end without running out of fuel. Being the NASCAR Winston Cup Series points leader at the time and there being only a handful of cars on the lead lap, it was better to play it safe and be assured of a top-five finish in the interest of pursuing his third Winston Cup championship. "We made the right decision last year when we pitted for fuel," said Gordon. "We were leading the points at the time and couldn't take the chance of finishing toward the back. I think when we calculated the fuel mileage, we figured we would fall about six laps short. That would have been too big of a gamble." In 12 starts at "the monster mile," Gordon has three wins, two poles, six top-fives and eight top-10's for an average finish of 8.7. The wins came consecutively -- in the fall of ‘95 and both Dover races in ‘96. "We always look forward to returning to Dover, said Gordon. "We've had some success here and we always hope to be in victory lane for DuPont since we're racing in their backyard." Gordon's season has been less than typical of what the DuPont team has become accustomed to. Although they have brought their rainbow-colored Chevrolet to victory lane three times already this season, they have also finished 31st or worse five times in the first 12 of 34 events which comprise the NASCAR Winston Cup season. In addition, Gordon has three third-place and one sixth-place finish in 1999, and is eighth in the points, 354 behind leader Dale Jarrett. "We knew that we were not going to go on winning 10 or 13 races a season with 26 top-fives," said Gordon. "When things are going your way, it's great but you have to expect that there are going to be times when they're not and you have to continue to work hard and stay focused. "We've had some bad luck this season and like I've said before, I'm more surprised at the good fortune we had last year, than I am at the bad luck we've had this year. "I can't predict what will happen with the championship, but I do know that we still need to go out there and get the job done. Until it's mathematically impossible for us to contend for the championship, then we're a contender." Over time, the DuPont team has proven to be a contender weekend after weekend. This weekend, they intend, once again, to be a contender...if not a dominator...if not a winner.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon