Rockingham: Jeff Gordon preview

ROCKINGHAM, NC - Jeff Gordon looks to follow up his ninth-place finish in the Daytona 500 with another strong qualifying run and a fifth victory at North Carolina Speedway as he enters the Subway 400 on Sunday. In 18 career starts at Rockingham,...

ROCKINGHAM, NC - Jeff Gordon looks to follow up his ninth-place finish in the Daytona 500 with another strong qualifying run and a fifth victory at North Carolina Speedway as he enters the Subway 400 on Sunday.

In 18 career starts at Rockingham, Gordon has four wins, two poles, seven top- five and eight top-10 finishes. He also hasn't qualified outside of the top 10 here since 1994 and is the only driver to have multiple wins in the last five years.

Most of Gordon's success at Rockingham has come in the February event in which he has three wins, two poles and four top-five finishes. That's good news for the four-time Winston Cup champion -- bad news for the competition.

"I've always said that you don't need a good finish in the Daytona 500 in order to win the championship," said Gordon. "Going into Rockingham with a top 10 already under our belt is certainly encouraging. Now we won't have to play catch-up like we have the last couple seasons."

The two events at Rockingham in 2001 produced drastically different results for the DuPont team. In February, they won the pole, led 180 of 393 laps and finished third. In November, they didn't get the car dialed in until late in the race and finished 25th.

"We gained some valuable information from the No. 48 team test here in January," said No. 24 team crew chief, Robbie Loomis. "This weekend, we plan on using that information plus our notes from last spring."

"One of the most important things at Rockingham is tire management," said Gordon. "The track surface just eats tires up so I think it's important to set the car up for long runs. If you're off on the setup you can fade back quickly and find yourself a lap down in no time."

Another factor for the No. 24 team is that they are using the same car that performed so well last spring.

"We only used this car twice last year, but we feel confident in what it can do," said Gordon. "Hopefully we can have a similar run to what we had last year but with better results."

If that's the case then Gordon's competitors could be in for a long Sunday afternoon, which doesn't bother him at all.

-jg/pprp-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Robbie Loomis