Jeff Gordon Indianapolis preview

Gordon expects rivals to be tough again at Indy SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Jeff Gordon, three-time Winston Cup champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, wants to win every race - but none more than Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor ...

Gordon expects rivals to be tough again at Indy

SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Jeff Gordon, three-time Winston Cup champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, wants to win every race - but none more than Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

However, he will have fierce competition from season-long rivals Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd for the Brickyard 400 win and points position. All three drivers have won the Brickyard 400 -- Gordon and Jarrett have won twice, and all three are in close contention in their quests toward the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.

Dale Jarrett led the point standings after race No. 5 at Darlington until Gordon took over after the race at Michigan, the 14th event of the season. Then they were tied for the points lead for two consecutive weeks until last weekend in Pocono when Gordon resumed sole possession of the lead. All the while, Rudd has slowly and quietly been creeping up the points ladder and is a definite threat to take over.

"Ricky and Dale are tough competitors," said Gordon. "They are both very talented drivers, they have Robert Yates Racing motors under the hood and their teams are really gelling right now.

"It's our job to go out there and not make mistakes because they're going to be right there week in and week out, just like we've been seeing."

Gordon, who will celebrate his 30th birthday on Saturday, enters this weekend's race as the points leader who has three wins and a series-leading five poles and 12 top-five's in 20 events. He has also led over one-fourth of all laps this season (26 percent), more than the next three lap leaders combined, and has led the most laps in six of the last eight events.

The DuPont team looks to dominate again this weekend with the same Monte Carlo that won from the pole in Michigan the last time it was raced.

"We've led the most laps in the last two races but didn't get the victory," Gordon said. "Each week, we're leading laps and getting into position to win. If we keep doing that, the wins will come."

Gordon's wins at Indy came in the inaugural Brickyard 400 and again in its fifth running in 1998 when he earned an extra $1 million bonus from Winston in the process as part of their No Bull 5 program. In seven starts at the 2.5-mile speedway, he has three poles, two victories, four top-five's, five top-10's and has led 277 of a possible 1,120 laps, or 25 percent. He hopes for more of the same success in his eighth start.

"We tested here a couple of weeks ago and the car ran well," said Gordon. "We're looking forward to the race but we can't get caught up in all the hype. We need to stay focused on the job at hand.

"Another win here would be tremendous. Although the Daytona 500 is our biggest event, I don't know if any win will ever top that win in the inaugural Brickyard 400. I'd have to say that was the all-time win for me."

Maintaining the points lead and becoming the first three-time winner of this prestigious event in Indianapolis near where Gordon grew up and cut his teeth in professional racing, would certainly be a nice birthday present.

"We just need to stick to our plan and do what we've been doing every week," said Gordon.

And if that plan comes to form, Gordon would have something to celebrate on Saturday and Sunday.

-DuPont-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing