GORDON WANTS TO ADD TO COLLECTION AT MARTINSVILLE MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 27, 2007) Soon-to-be first-time father Jeff Gordon wants eight. Grandfather clocks, that is. But seven-time Martinsville winner Gordon knows that good brakes ...
GORDON WANTS TO ADD TO COLLECTION AT MARTINSVILLE
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 27, 2007) Soon-to-be first-time father Jeff Gordon wants eight. Grandfather clocks, that is. But seven-time Martinsville winner Gordon knows that good brakes may ultimately determine who collects the grandfather clock as champion of the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Gordon, who finished third last Sunday, used more brakes than normal in the debut of the "Car of Tomorrow" at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With the tight, flat Virginia short track next on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule, Team DuPont plans to be conservative with the brakes on the brightly painted No. 24 Chevrolet. "I used more brakes at Bristol trying to get the car into the corner," said Gordon. "This new car seems to carry so much momentum, and it was pretty loose getting into the corner at Bristol. We played it conservative and upgraded our brakes for that race. "I expect we'll be using a lot of brake this weekend, maybe even more so than past Martinsville races. We'll go ultra-conservative on our brake package - maxed-out for brakes and cooling for this weekend's race."
Along with his seven wins, Gordon has collected five poles, 16 top-fives and 22 top- 10's in 28 events at 0.526-mile track. In his last eight races here, Gordon has visited Victory Lane four times, has led an average of 130 laps per event with a 3.25 average finishing position. But past success will not automatically translate into a strong run this weekend. Gordon knows there will be another learning curve this weekend as the teams prepare to race the new car at Martinsville.
"Compared to Bristol, I think Martinsville should be a little bit easier to adapt to," said Gordon. "We don't have the loads, the banking and the drop-off transitions here like we had at Bristol. But the drivers and teams face a lot of unknowns again this weeeknd." The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion enters this event with the points lead, the first time he has held the top spot since February of 2005.
Gordon has posted three top- fives and four top-10's in the first five races this season with an average finish of 5.8. Only one other time has Gordon started the season with a single-digit average finish in the first five races, and that occurred in 1999 (9.4). "We've battled the handling in a few of the races this year, but my crew chief, Steve Letarte, and the entire DuPont team have not let that get them down," said Gordon. "We went backwards fast at Bristol, but fought back. We struggled early at California but came back to finish second. "We've been able to fight back from adversity to post good finishes. But we want more than that."