Jeff Gordon Phoenix preview

Winning Is The Game Plan For Gordon At Phoenix PHOENIX, Ariz. - With only five races remaining in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Jeff Gordon will take a 395-point lead and a new car into this Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix ...

Winning Is The Game Plan For Gordon At Phoenix

PHOENIX, Ariz. - With only five races remaining in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Jeff Gordon will take a 395-point lead and a new car into this Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway â^À^Ó but not a new strategy.

Gordon, needing only to finish 18th or better in the remaining races to capture his fourth championship, wants to add a Winston Cup victory at Phoenix to his resume. He has victories at 19 of 23 tracks currently on the schedule with Miami, Texas, Chicago and Phoenix being the only tracks he has yet to visit Victory Lane in a Winston Cup car.

In eight starts at Phoenix, Gordon has three top-fives, six top-10's, an 11.8 average starting position and an 11.2 average finish.

"We really want to win this race," said Gordon, driver of the DuPont Chevrolet. "We've raced here since 1993 and haven't won in a Cup car. I've won a Busch race, but this team really wants to win a Cup race here."

And you can throw away any thoughts of Gordon playing the numbers game.

"We're not worried about finishing in a certain position during these last few races to guarantee the championship," Gordon said. "We're trying to win each race. If we can't win, we want to finish as high as possible. We're not going to change our game plan around this late in the season."

That game plan has Gordon leading the circuit this season in wins (6), poles (6), top-five's (18), top-10's (22), races led (23), laps led (2,032), average finish (10.2) and average start (9.2). Hoping to add to those numbers, the No. 24 team will race a car specifically built for flat tracks that has only seen a track for testing.

"We tested this car at Martinsville earlier this year," crew chief Robbie Loomis said. "It's a flat-track car that tested well.

"Jeff hasn't won a Cup race here and it's on all of our minds. That's extra incentive and you'd think we would put more emphasis on this race.

"But we don't. This team puts extra emphasis on every race."

-DuPont-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon