TEAM DUPONT PREPARES FOR MICHIGAN 'TEST' August 16, 2005 BROOKLYN, Mich. - Over the past three races, Jeff Gordon has gained two positions and 53 points toward a spot into the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup." Facing a deficit of 67...
TEAM DUPONT PREPARES FOR MICHIGAN 'TEST' August 16, 2005
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Over the past three races, Jeff Gordon has gained two positions and 53 points toward a spot into the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup." Facing a deficit of 67 points with only four races to go before the "Chase" begins, this Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway will be a real test for the No. 24 DuPont team.
In June at MIS, Gordon qualified ninth but struggled with the handling of his Chevrolet and finished 32nd. Last week, the team tested at the two-mile facility to make sure that did not happen again.
"During our first race at Michigan, tire wear was excessively high," crew chief Robbie Loomis said. "We'll be using a different tire this weekend, and we were able to test with it last week.
"The test session went well, and we are planning to use the car we ran at California earlier this year. At California, we were running in the top five when we experienced engine problems late in the race.
"Since then, we have 're-skinned' the car with an emphasis on making it better for Michigan and California. The car has better downforce and was 0.3 - 0.4 seconds per lap quicker than when we were here in June.
"And I'm really excited about the gains made by Jeff Andrews and the entire Hendrick Motorsports Engine Department."
In 25 career starts at MIS, Gordon has produced two wins, four poles, 14 top-fives and 17 top-10's. He has a 10.2 average finishing position and a 9.5 average starting position.
"Typically, Michigan has been a good track for us," said Gordon. "In June, though, we stunk.
"We've had a tough couple of months, but it's those types of races that really bother us. When it's something out of our control -- like the flat tire we had last weekend at Watkins Glen -- it's a little easier to take.
"We're not giving up because we haven't been mathematically eliminated from the 'Chase.' Our focus won't be on the drivers ahead of us in the points, it will be on our program and making the most out of these next four races.
"If we perform to our potential, we still have a shot of making it."