GORDON COULD TIE TWO EARNHARDT RECORDS WITH WIN AT TALLADEGA TALLADEGA, Ala (Sept. 27, 2005) - If Jeff Gordon wins this Sunday's UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, it would mark his third restrictor-plate victory of the season and his 11th...
GORDON COULD TIE TWO EARNHARDT RECORDS WITH WIN AT TALLADEGA
TALLADEGA, Ala (Sept. 27, 2005) - If Jeff Gordon wins this Sunday's UAW Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, it would mark his third restrictor-plate victory of the season and his 11th overall -- two feats only Dale Earnhardt has accomplished. It would also move Gordon to within three wins of Earnhardt on the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win list.
Earnhardt, a 76-time winner and seven-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, won both races held at Talladega Superspeedway and one of two events held at Daytona International Speedway in 1990. After wins in the Daytona 500 and the Aaron's 499 at Talladega earlier this season, Gordon will attempt to etch his name in the record books alongside that of Earnhardt.
"Dale was the master at these types of races," Gordon said. "I'd love to get the win, but not because of any statistic or record. And it really doesn't add any extra incentive because this DuPont team tries to win every race.
"Statistics are great when it's all said and done but, during the season, you really don't care about them or where you might rank on a list."
Gordon began the year by leading 29 laps en route to a victory in NASCAR's "Super Bowl," the Daytona 500. While he earned almost $1.5 million for the victory, the trip to Victory Lane cost him a brand new race car. The morning after the '500,' Gordon and the No. 24 team helped induct the car into Daytona USA where it will be on display through next year's event.
In April at Talladega, the No. 24 team arrived with a chassis that had won two restrictor-plate events in 2005. After qualifying second, Gordon dominated the event -- leading 139 of 194 laps -- to secure his 72nd career victory.
"Steve Bergh and all the guys at the No. 24 shop worked hard on our restrictor-plate program when we were behind, and the results followed," Gordon said. "We're always working hard to catch up or stay ahead of the competition.
"Even though we had a great car and great results here in the Spring, the DuPont team has been working hard to build a new car to replace the one that is in Daytona USA. We believe it's even better than the car we used here earlier this year, we just hope the results are the same."
In 25 career starts at the 2.66-mile speedway, Gordon has posted four wins, 11 top-fives and 14 top-10's. Although he has won 54 career poles on 19 different tracks, Talladega does not appear on that list.
"It doesn't matter where you start here," said Gordon, who won here in 2000 from the 36th-starting position. "At some point, you are going to be shuffled back into the pack. The key is to be at or near the front in the closing stages of the race. Personally, I'd prefer to be in the lead rather than in second or third.
"I want to force the other drivers to find a way past me."