Team DuPont Wants to Continue Martinsville Dominance MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 28, 2006) & ...
Team DuPont Wants to Continue Martinsville Dominance
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 28, 2006) Jeff Gordon will attempt to win his third consecutive race at Martinsville Speedway this Sunday in the DIRECTV 500. If he is successful at what could be considered his "best" track, it will mark his fifth win in the last seven events here and his eighth overall.
Currently, Gordon's seven victories at the tight short track are tops in two categories. While he is the winningest active driver at the speedway, Martinsville Speedway is also the only track where Gordon has posted seven wins. He has visited Victory Lane six times at two tracks: Daytona International Speedway and Darlington Raceway. Part of that success can be attributed to Team DuPont's ability to finish races here. Gordon has been running at the finish in each of his 26 starts at the 0.526-mile short track.
"We like Martinsville, and Martinsville seems to like us," Gordon said. "It takes a lot of things to be successful here: a great team, a great car, good communication throughout the weekend to make the right adjustments and a driver that has the 'feel' for the track. "I really enjoy racing here, but that hasn't always been the case. The first few times I raced here, we managed to have decent finishes but I struggled with the tight corners.
"We tested here early in my career and it was frustrating. After numerous adjustments to the car didn't improve my lap times, I adjusted the way I drove the track and I found some things that really improved my lap times."
Along with his seven wins, Gordon has five poles, 14 top-fives and 20 top-10's. He has finished outside the top 12 only three times, with two of those occurring during the 2002 season. Since 1995, Gordon has completed all but six laps at Martinsville (10,850 of a possible 10,856 laps) - at times while facing adversity. In 2004, the right front corner of Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet was severely damaged when a piece of the track surface became dislodged and slammed into it. After numerous stops to repair the damage, Gordon and Team DuPont fought back to finish sixth. Last year in the Spring event, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion battled back from three laps down, due to a loose wheel, to capture an emotional victory. After missing the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" in 2005, Gordon has battled back early this season and now sits seventh in the points standings. He trails points leader Matt Kenseth - with whom he had a much-publicized altercation after the Bristol event last week - by 138. "Emotions were high last week, but I won't carry any of that into Martinsville," Gordon said. "We have to race the same guys week in and week out, and you can't be concentrating on paybacks. "I go into each race with no enemies, and I hope not to create any during the race."