FOR JEFF GORDON, COULD PHOENIX PROVIDE ANOTHER FIRST? AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 8, 2008) - In last year's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), Jeff Gordon notched a couple of "firsts" for Team DuPont: first win at the...
FOR JEFF GORDON, COULD PHOENIX PROVIDE ANOTHER FIRST?
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 8, 2008) - In last year's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), Jeff Gordon notched a couple of "firsts" for Team DuPont: first win at the one-mile track and first victory in the No. 24 Chevrolet Impala SS. Much like last year, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion hopes this Saturday night's event at PIR will also provide a first - the team's first victory of the season.
Gordon has fared well in 18 career starts at the Arizona track. Along with the victory here last year that tied him with Dale Earnhardt for sixth in all-time wins, Gordon has posted eight top-fives and 15 top-10's (83 percent) with an average starting position of 8.9 and an 8.3 average finish. In fact, he only has one finish higher than 17th, which occurred his rookie year in 1993 when he finished 35th.
"This track is tricky, and it really challenges everyone," said Gordon. "Turns 1 and 2 are banked, while 3 and 4 are flat. And the groove really widens out during the race.
"It's a track where we always seemed to run well, but we just never could get that victory until last year." In that race, a decisive call by crew chief Steve Letarte helped secure that maiden victory.
"I've always been impressed with Steve's ability to remain calm during pressure situations," said Gordon. "We had a radio issue before the race and he calmly told me what signals to give him regarding the handling of the car during the race. Luckily, we were able to replace the helmet and didn't have to worry about it. "During the race, he made a great call during our last stop. I was on pit road when a caution waved, and I was planning to drive straight through without stopping. He quickly figured out that we could make the stop without losing a lap, and that decision gained us valuable track position."
Gordon enters Phoenix 14th in the point standings after a disappointing result at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend.
"Texas is behind us," said Gordon. "We always try to forget about the last race - no matter the result - and concentrate on the next one.
"We'll definitely try to figure out what the problem was in Texas so that it doesn't occur again. But our focus right now is on Phoenix and getting the best possible result." Which could be a "first."