MAKING CHASE IS SHORT-TERM GOAL FOR TEAM DUPONT BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2006) - Last Sunday, Jeff Gordon took a hard hit at Pocono Raceway - in the race and in the point standings. As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series travels to ...
MAKING CHASE IS SHORT-TERM GOAL FOR TEAM DUPONT
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2006) - Last Sunday, Jeff Gordon took a hard hit at Pocono Raceway - in the race and in the point standings. As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series travels to Michigan International Speedway for a 400-mile event this weekend, the four-time champion knows Team DuPont is capable of positioning themselves in the top 10 before the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" field is set following race No. 26. While that is the short-term goal of the driver who currently sits 11th in the standings, the long-term goal remains the same - a fifth championship.
"The wreck in Pocono was one of the hardest hits I've ever experienced," Gordon said. "I have to thank the guys at Hendrick Motorsports for building such a safe car. It also helped that I have such a hard head. "In terms of performance, we aren't where we need to be. I said earlier this year that I didn't expect to start the year as the best team, but I'd like to end the season as the best team.
"I'm hoping to get to that point as the Chase begins, not when the Chase ends." In 26 starts at the two-mile Michigan track, Gordon has two wins, four poles, 14 top- fives and 17 top-10's. In his last five starts, though, he has posted only one top-10 finish.
"We ran well here in 2004, and we led a lot of laps in the June event that year before we had engine problems," Gordon said. "Last year, though, we struggled and that is what we have to improve upon.
"This has always been one of my favorite tracks because it's fast, wide and fairly smooth. We've learned a lot since we raced here last year, and hopefully it will pay off for us this weekend." While improving the performance at tracks where the team struggled last year is crucial, Gordon also knows they must perform at the tracks where they have historically done well. "We have some tracks after Michigan, like Infineon and Daytona, that we have to take advantage of," Gordon said. "Taking advantage of those tracks while making improvements to other areas of our program can put us in the Chase. "We can make the Chase, but we're looking for so much more than that."