Martinsville Jeff Gordon Preview

GORDON LOOKS TO CONTINUE STREAK OF TOP FINISHES AT MARTINSVILLE MARTINSVILLE, Va. - This Sunday, Jeff Gordon will come to Martinsville Speedway attempting to lower his finish percentage at the .526-mile oval. In the last eight...

GORDON LOOKS TO CONTINUE STREAK OF TOP FINISHES AT MARTINSVILLE

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - This Sunday, Jeff Gordon will come to Martinsville Speedway attempting to lower his finish percentage at the .526-mile oval.

In the last eight races at Martinsville, Gordon's average finish is 3.63. In those events, the driver of the DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet has finished no worse than eighth. Six of those eight finishes were top-fives.

In a total of 12 starts at Martinsville, Gordon has two wins, six top-fives and nine top-10's for an average finish of 7.6.

Often, racing on a short track means many accidents throughout the event because 43 cars compete in limited space. Gordon is one of only three active Winston Cup drivers who have competed in at least10 events and never posted a DNF at Martinsville.

Gordon proved last weekend at Bristol that he would not be defeated by a short track or pain as he rallied back from an accident on lap 341 to finish on the lead lap in sixth after 500 laps on a very physically demanding speedway while suffering sore ribs from an accident at Texas two weeks prior.

"With a car as good as we had at Bristol, the pain just seemed to go away," said Gordon. "On the long runs, I really didn't notice any pain.

"When we had a caution and I'd try to take a deep breath, it was a little tough and I knew I was going to be a little sore for the next couple of days. However, if we can get through a race at Bristol, we can definitely get through a race at Martinsville."

In the last six events at Martinsville, Gordon has led 27 per cent of all laps. In the last three Goody's Headache Pain 500 spring events here, Gordon has led 44 per cent of the laps.

The 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the No. 24 team. A win at the season-opening Daytona 500 had many believing that Gordon was going to be virtually unbeatable after coming off a season where he produced 13 wins and 26 top-five finishes in a 33-race season.

However, Gordon was plagued with engine failure in the second race, at Rockingham, leaving him with a DNF. At Las Vegas, Gordon was thrilled with a third-place finish at a track where he struggled last year to finish 17th.

Then Gordon won at Atlanta and followed it up with a third-place finish at Darlington, putting him second in the points standings.

In Texas, Gordon had a tire go down, resulting in a hard and painful crash into the wall and a last-place finish. A weekend off for Easter was just what Gordon needed to recover enough to race at Bristol.

"I hope to have a good run at Martinsville and pray that the worst is behind us for the season," said Gordon. "We need to have consistent finishes to keep up with the competition."

A little Goody's Body Pain Reliever, a good starting position and another good run at Martinsville might be "just what the doctor ordered" to put the champ back in victory lane.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon