Sears Point: Jeff Gordon preview

Past record, Formula 1 swap has Gordon ready for Infineon SONOMA, Calif. - Jeff Gordon, who holds the record for most career NASCAR Winston Cup road course victories with seven, wants to attack if the opportunity presents itself in this Sunday's...

Past record, Formula 1 swap has Gordon ready for Infineon

SONOMA, Calif. - Jeff Gordon, who holds the record for most career NASCAR Winston Cup road course victories with seven, wants to attack if the opportunity presents itself in this Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

Of the top five drivers in the point standings, Gordon is the only one to visit victory lane at Infineon. In 10 career starts, he has three victories, three poles, six top-fives, seven top-10's and has led the most laps five times.

On the other hand, the other drivers currently in the top five (Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bobby Labonte and Kurt Busch) have no wins and only five top-10's in a combined 18 races at Infineon. In fact, Kenseth and Earnhardt, Jr.,first and second in points respectively, have no top-15's in a combined six career starts.

"This weekend should be a good test for Kenseth and Junior," said Gordon, a native of Vallejo, Calif. "It seems Matt's weakness, if you can call it that, is the superspeedways and the road courses. Junior's seems to be the road courses."

"For us, we look at this as an opportunity. We know this is a race we can win. We've been strong here in the past and I believe we have made some gains since last year."

Last Sunday, Gordon finished third at Michigan and remained third in points, 223 behind leader Kenseth. Gordon gained 10 points on Kenseth in a race that had eight of the top-10 drivers in the point standings finish in the top 10.

"The series is so competitive right now and every point counts," Gordon said. "The guys that are in the chase for the championship are the ones that seem to run in the top five every week. If they slip and have trouble one week, you have to be in a position to take advantage of it."

On June 11, Gordon was able to experience road racing of a different sort. The four-time Winston Cup champion "swapped" cars with Formula 1 star Juan Pablo Montoya on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon turned laps approximately 20 seconds quicker in the F1 car compared to his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

"I think that we should do that every year, but not right before we race at Sears Point," Gordon joked. "I probably won't know what hit me when I get into the car on Friday."

"I'm thankful for the opportunity and I learned a lot. One of the biggest differences was the braking. In an F1 car, you drive deeper into the corner, stand on the brake, downshift and turn all at the same time."

"In a stock car, it's brake, wait a little bit, downshift, downshift, okay now it's time to turn."

"It's an experience that I'll take with me forever, but this DuPont team and I have already returned our focus to winning a fifth NASCAR Winston Cup championship."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch