DARLINGTON, S.C. - Jeff Gordon found "the groove" early this NASCAR Winston Cup season with one win, one pole and the NASCAR Winston Cup points lead as the series heads into the fifth event of the season. Gordon, driver of the DuPont...
DARLINGTON, S.C. - Jeff Gordon found "the groove" early this NASCAR Winston Cup season with one win, one pole and the NASCAR Winston Cup points lead as the series heads into the fifth event of the season.
Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet, enters this Sunday's Carolina Dodge Dealer's 400 at Darlington Raceway with three consecutive top-three's. The string began with a pole and a third-place finish at Rockingham. It continued the following weekend in Las Vegas as Gordon captured the win and a $1 million bonus from RJ Reynolds as part of their "No Bull 5" promotion. This past weekend at Atlanta, he finished second by a mere 0.006 seconds to race winner Kevin Harvick but came out on top in points.
Gordon heads into Sunday's event a five-time winner at Darlington, a speedway that has long been considered "too tough to tame."
"Darlington is a tough track, especially mentally," Gordon said. "It's tough enough racing by yourself, but with 42 other guys trying to beat you to the checkered flag, it's that much tougher.
"The groove during the day inches closer and closer to the wall. One slip and you're in trouble.
"You have to respect this place from beginning to end."
Showing the track respect has proven successful for Gordon. In addition to five victories, he has achieved three poles, nine top five's and 11 top-10's in 16 starts. Improving those numbers can only help in his chase for a fourth championship.
"It's still too early to begin worrying about the championship, but you're always thinking about it," Gordon said. "We just need to finish consistently, lead laps and win when the opportunity is there.
"This team stuck together last year and improved all season long. They worked hard during the off season and the results are proving that. We just need to stay focused and keep having fun.
"Then, if we are in position at the end of the season, we'll keep doing whatever it is that got us there and hopefully be contention for the championship."