Michigan: Jeff Gordon preview

BROOKLYN, Mich. - It is not the upcoming event in Sonoma, Calif., where Jeff Gordon has three wins, that has him doing some California dreaming. It is thoughts of his third win at the California Speedway earlier this year which have his sights set...

BROOKLYN, Mich. - It is not the upcoming event in Sonoma, Calif., where Jeff Gordon has three wins, that has him doing some California dreaming. It is thoughts of his third win at the California Speedway earlier this year which have his sights set on a third win at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday.

Although Gordon sees Michigan as "unique," if there is another track that is similar, he believes it is California Speedway. After winning his third race of the season there in May, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet wants a similar result at Michigan in the DHL 400.

"There's not too many tracks we visit that are like Michigan - it's unique," said Gordon, a 66-time winner in NASCAR's premier series. "California Speedway is not the same but it's the closest, and we'll use a lot of our notes from that track here this weekend."

In 22 career starts at the two-mile Michigan track, Gordon has two victories, 14 top-fives, 16 top-10's and an 8.0 average finish. His first victory occurred during his record-tying 13-victory championship season of 1998. His only other victory at this facility was during his 2001 championship season. That win also marked Hendrick Motorsports' 100th career NASCAR Cup victory.

In 11 events held here during June, Gordon has failed to complete only one lap (2,193 of 2,194) and has an average finish of 5.0. In eight starts at California, he has completed all but one lap and has a 5.9 average finish.

In addition to using the same notes from California, Gordon will also race the same chassis this weekend. Car No. 2479 has visited Victory Lane twice (California in 2004 and Atlanta in 2003) and has carried Gordon to five top-five finishes in seven starts.

"This is a great race car, one that seems to work well on mile-and-a-half tracks and two-mile tracks," Gordon said. "But it takes the complete package to win in the NEXTEL Cup Series these days, and fuel mileage is part of that equation. It seems more and more races come down to who has the best fuel mileage.

"Last weekend at Pocono, we weren't that good on gas mileage and I think that played a role in us not contending for the win at the end of the race.

"At California, we were able to stretch our fuel mileage and win the event. We stretched it just far enough for me to run out while I was doing my burnout and the crew had to push the car to Victory Lane.

"I expect fuel mileage will play a determining factor in the outcome of Sunday's race. And I don't think the DuPont crew would mind if they had to push the car to Victory Lane again."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon
Teams Hendrick Motorsports