Phoenix Jeff Gordon Preview

GORDON AWAITS CHAMPIONSHIP, HOPES TO DOUBLE DIP AT PHOENIX PHOENIX, Ariz. This weekend, Jeff Gordon hopes to win his first Winston Cup career race at Phoenix International Raceway while clinching his third championship in four years. Gordon...

GORDON AWAITS CHAMPIONSHIP, HOPES TO DOUBLE DIP AT PHOENIX

PHOENIX, Ariz. This weekend, Jeff Gordon hopes to win his first Winston Cup career race at Phoenix International Raceway while clinching his third championship in four years.

Gordon and his DuPont Automotive Finishes team of Rainbow Warriors must do just what they've done for 11 of 30 races this season to win here on Sunday. It will take a 12-point gain on the second-place contender, Mark Martin, to claim the 1998 NASCAR Winston Cup title.

However, Gordon could lose up to 56 points to Martin in the Dura Lube 500k and all he would have to do is start the remaining two races to win the championship.

But crew chief Ray Evernham and his entire championship team do not think in terms of losing anything and they do not intend to start now. Gordon has exemplified this by taking their Refuse to Lose motto to heart and driving them toward a third championship in their sixth year of Winston Cup competition.

"In all the years I've known Jeff, I've never seen him as focused as he is right now," said Evernham. "Just like the rest of this team, he wants this championship real bad."

Leading the most laps and winning last weekend's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway allowed Gordon to gain another 70 points over Martin, who finished 16th. Gordon currently leads Martin by 358 points.

"There are three races remaining and anything can happen," said Gordon.

"Just like we were able to gain significantly over the past couple of weeks, we could just as easily lose significantly over the next couple of weeks.

"We can't lose our focus. We have to continue to do what we've been doing."

Gordon has yet to win a race at Phoenix. However, Phoenix is one of seven venues that the Winston Cup Series visits only once per year. In addition to Phoenix, the only places Gordon has not won are Texas and Las Vegas which held their inaugural races in 1997 and 1998, respectively. He has won at every venue that is visited twice per year and, except for Phoenix, he has won at every track where he has competed each year since his rookie season.

In five starts at Phoenix, Gordon has three top-five finishes. This season, Gordon has 24 top-five's including the last 17 consecutive, a modern era record.

Also this season, Gordon has 11 wins, seven poles, an average finish of 5.97, and has earned nearly $6 million.

Last weekend's win marked the 40th of Gordon's career. During his Winston Cup tenure, Gordon has two championships and has earned more than $22.5 million.

With three events remaining, a commanding lead and only 12 points at stake...we await.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ray Evernham