Sears Point: Jeff Gordon preview

IF HE RACES, EXPECT GORDON TO BE UP FRONT AT INFINEON SONOMA, Calif. (June 19, 2007) - Jeff Gordon grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif. After moving to the mid-West, then south to pursue stock car racing, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion...

IF HE RACES, EXPECT GORDON TO BE UP FRONT AT INFINEON

SONOMA, Calif. (June 19, 2007) - Jeff Gordon grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif. After moving to the mid-West, then south to pursue stock car racing, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion does not get to spend a lot of time in the Bay Area anymore. But when he does visit, there is usually one place you can find him - up front.

In 14 career starts at Infineon Raceway, Gordon has nine top-fives and 10 top-10's, including a record five victories and five poles. He has also led nine of those races for a record total of 437 laps, nearly one-third of the laps he has competed in. In fact, Gordon has collected five wins and led 425 of a possible 998 laps since 1998 at the 10-turn road course. While he has had a lot of memorable moments at Infineon during his career, one heads the list.

"Last year was an incredible weekend," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "To announce my engagement to Ingrid (Vandebosch), and then to win the race was amazing. "But this weekend could be even more special, and it won't even take a win to do that."

Gordon and wife Ingrid are on "baby watch," with the arrival of their first child, a daughter, expected any day now. And that has led to a number of contingency plans, including veteran driver Mark Martin filling in for Gordon. "It depends on when the baby is born," Gordon said.

"If she is born on Wednesday, then I'll have a day and a half with her and Ingrid before heading west. If she is born on Thursday or Friday, then that would change things significantly.

"If she's born during the race on Sunday, then I'll see her when I get home. There's not a lot I can do about that, but I hope that doesn't happen."

Sunday marks the first time the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will use the "Car of Tomorrow" (CoT) in a road course event. It also marks the debut of former Formula 1 standout Juan Pablo Montoya on a road course in NASCAR's top division. "I think Juan will definitely be a factor during the race," Gordon said.

"But I think the Penske cars are going to be tough because they really had their road course program together last year.

"And the Gibbs cars will be tough, as well. "I'm looking forward to this weekend's race. We tested up at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) with the new car, and I feel like we've got a good race car and I'm excited about it.

"But with the car of tomorrow, everybody is pretty equal."

-credit: hm

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya