Talladega II: Jeff Gordon preview

Gordon will take rule changes in stride at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. - As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series travels to Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's EA Sports 500, the No. 24 DuPont team is prepared for NASCAR's new rule changes, fuel...

Gordon will take rule changes in stride at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. - As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series travels to Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's EA Sports 500, the No. 24 DuPont team is prepared for NASCAR's new rule changes, fuel strategy and to ending Dale Earnhardt, Inc.'s (DEI) dominance here.

Rules will go into effect for this weekend's race that will increase the size of the restrictor plate by 1/32 of an inch which will, in turn, increase horsepower and drafting speed.

However, NASCAR also increased the spoiler size to produce more drag, offsetting the increased horsepower.

"With the new spoiler changes, we are half a step in between where we were with roof rails and restrictor plate racing recently," said Robbie Loomis, crew chief of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "The team has been working hard on our superspeedway cars, including two trips to the wind tunnel since Daytona. A recent trip to the wind tunnel included testing the new spoiler changes."

"It will be interesting to see how much, if any, effect is noticed from these new changes," Gordon said. "We always seem to be racing three and four wide in packs of 40 here and I don't think you'll see that change this weekend."

Fuel and pit strategy have proven to be a key element to winning NASCAR Winston Cup races recently. Due to the new restrictor plate dimensions implemented at Talladega, more fuel will be funneled into the engine thus creating yet another puzzle piece in the game of fuel strategy.

"We anticipate that the new modifications will alter fuel strategy by backing us up a lap or two," Loomis said. "We'll figure out our fuel range during Saturday's practice sessions."

Not only does the DuPont team have to adjust to the new rules but they also have to approach Sunday's race with another goal in mind -- ending the dominance of DEI.

In the last 11 restrictor plate races, DEI has eight wins including four consecutive wins at Talladega by Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

"I thought the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet was capable of beating DEI last year, but we weren't there at the end," Gordon said. "Earlier this year, we led some laps and I thought we were in great position with four Hendrick cars in the top-five."

Gordon has visited victory lane twice at Talladega. He also has eight top-fives, 11 top-10's and has led 427 laps on the 2.66-mile superspeedway, second only to Bill Elliott among active drivers.

In addition, he has 22 career starts at Daytona including two Daytona 500 victories, two Pepsi 400 victories, eight top-fives and 11 top-10's.

"It's a long race with a lot of action," Loomis said. "I just sit on the pit box and hold my breath for 188 laps."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Robbie Loomis