GORDON HOPES TO ESCAPE TALLADEGA WITH A VICTORY TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 27, 2009) - Oh, it will occur. But how do you avoid the "big one" in Sunday's Amp Energy 500 according to six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jeff Gordon. "It seems...
GORDON HOPES TO ESCAPE TALLADEGA WITH A VICTORY
TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 27, 2009) - Oh, it will occur. But how do you avoid the "big one" in Sunday's Amp Energy 500 according to six-time Talladega Superspeedway winner Jeff Gordon.
"It seems simple, really," said the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. "Just be ahead of it or way behind it - just don't be in the middle of it. "Rarely do you escape when you are in the middle of it."
Along with his six victories in 33 starts at the Alabama track, Gordon has one pole, 13 top-fives and 16 top-10's. He has won in dominating fashion by leading 139 of 194 laps and he has been victorious with a conservative approach, patiently waiting until the end to make a move and leading only one lap - the final one.
"You can be aggressive or you can be conservative - either approach can be good or bad," said Gordon, who collected his 16th top-five finish in 32 races this season last weekend at Martinsville. "And I don't believe one approach works better than the other.
"The 'big one' is going to happen - it's just whether you get caught up in the crash or not, or whether it comes early or late in the race." While Gordon expects another thrilling race for the fans at the 2.66-mile track, a change has already begun at the speedway.
"It's going to be an exciting race for the drivers and the fans, but things are definitely changing here," said the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "We saw it a little bit last year and again here in April - two cars working together could separate themselves from the bigger pack.
"We're still going to see three-and-four-wide racing with a big pack of 30 to 40 cars, but you could see some breakaways during the race and again at the end."
But the key is to be there at the end with a chance at victory and Gordon has not yet decided which approach he will employ during the 188-lap event.
"We will most likely take the aggressive approach and try to lead, but try to make smart decisions as well," said the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion who is third in the standings and 150 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. "A lot of that will depend on where we start and what is going on around us once the race starts. If need be, we can change our game plan during the race.
"But there is one approach I prefer, and that's racing from the drop of the green flag."