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BACK-TO-BACK WINS AT MICHIGAN COULD BE TURNING POINT FOR GORDON BROOKLYN, Mich. – The rules have changed, the competition has increased and Jeff Gordon and his team of Rainbow Warriors have experienced their share of bad luck-- all at...

BACK-TO-BACK WINS AT MICHIGAN COULD BE TURNING POINT FOR GORDON

BROOKLYN, Mich. – The rules have changed, the competition has increased and Jeff Gordon and his team of Rainbow Warriors have experienced their share of bad luck-- all at the same time. That's the story of 1999. And to keep up, the three-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion and his DuPont Automotive Finishes team will have to shift into high gear as they continue to battle for contention in the last two-thirds of the season, including race No. 14 this Sunday at Michigan Speedway. After eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first 11 starts at Michigan, Gordon achieved his first win here in his 12th race at the 2-mile oval last August giving him an average finish of 4.9 here. "I was thrilled to win race at Michigan," said Gordon. "We had finished in the top five so many times but could never quite get that win. We're looking for top-five finishes, but it would certainly be great if we could get a win this weekend. We finished second at Dover last weekend and hopefully that's given us some momentum going into this Sunday's race." The No. 24 team and driver undoubtedly have the impetus to drive themselves right back into the thick of things, despite four DNF's this season. "Out of it?" Gordon asked when questioned about pursuing the points championship. "Not this team...no way. "There are still a lot of races remaining. This team is capable of anything, and we've seen in the past that anything can happen. I guess that's what makes NASCAR Winston Cup racing such an exciting sport." The competition is closer this year than it has been in past years. The Joe Gibbs Racing teams have come on strong this season with drivers Bobby Labonte and rookie Tony Stewart who are third and fifth in the points, respectively. In addition, you have the usual suspects: points leader Dale Jarrett and fourth-place Mark Martin, who Gordon has battled for the championship the last two years. Throw in Martin's teammate, Jeff Burton, who occupies the second-place points position and has matched Gordon's three year-to-date wins, and you have some stout competition. "Consistency is the key," said Gordon. "We had 26 top-five finishes last year and that's why we won the championship. This year we haven't had that consistency but it's not because we haven't been running strong each week." Last year after the first 13 races, Gordon had three wins, three poles, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes. This year's statistics read the same. The difference is that last year he was only 46 points out of the lead. Currently, Gordon is 339 points away from the top spot. In addition to the two Winston Cup events, Gordon will compete in the IROC race this Friday and the Busch Series race on August 21, at Michigan. "Michigan is one of my favorite tracks," said Gordon. "I enjoy racing on tracks that are wide and smooth with a lot of room to pass and I look forward to all the racing that we're going to be doing at Michigan this year."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Mark Martin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing