Sears Point: Jeff Gordon preview



SONOMA, Calif. (June 20, 2006) – Jeff Gordon will be in Victory Lane this weekend. He just hopes to visit on two separate occasions. Gordon, who holds the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series record with four victories at the 1.99-mile road course, will be inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame on Friday morning in Victory Lane. Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Chairman O. Bruton Smith will also be inducted, joining last year's inductees, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace, as the only four individuals who share this honor.

"I love racing on road courses and we've had a lot of success here," said Gordon, a native of nearby Vallejo, Calif. "It's an honor to be inducted into the Wall of Fame, especially at a track where we have a tremendous amount of support from fans, friends and family.

"My weekend at the track starts there, and I'd like to end it there, as well."

Along with his four victories at the California track, the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has five poles, eight top-fives, nine top-10's, and he has led 393 laps in 13 starts. He has led the most laps six times, including 92 of 110 laps during his last victory here in 2004. In 2005, Gordon led the first 32 laps before experiencing transmission problems that led to a 33rd-place finish.

"Because of our success here, it's easy to look at last year's result as playing a big role in us missing the Chase," Gordon said. "And, it did. But our performances at other tracks were to blame as well.

"This weekend gives us the opportunity to get some points back. We need to be sure not to give any away." Several years ago, it seemed only a handful of drivers consistently ran well at the road courses. That number has increased, according to Gordon. "There was a time when teams didn't focus on the road courses," said Gordon, whose eight road course victories is a record. "They just wanted to get 'through them.'

"Now, every race and every position means so much toward the Chase and the championship. Teams have become smarter about their braking packages, transmissions and car setups.

"I don't believe we had the fastest car here last year. Tony (Stewart) was strong here and in Watkins Glen, so I think we had a little bit of catching up to do.

"We tested at Virginia International Raceway a few weeks ago. The test went well, and I think we gained some speed and learned some things that will make us better this year." Which could lead to a return trip to Victory Lane on Sunday afternoon.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Rusty Wallace , Mark Martin