Texas: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON WANTS TEXAS AND PHOENIX ELIMINATED FROM 'FINAL FOUR' JUSTIN, Texas - Bracket buster? Current No. 6 seed Jeff Gordon hopes to eliminate two of his 'Final Four' on consecutive weekends and improve his seeding prior to the beginning of the...

GORDON WANTS TEXAS AND PHOENIX ELIMINATED FROM 'FINAL FOUR'

JUSTIN, Texas - Bracket buster? Current No. 6 seed Jeff Gordon hopes to eliminate two of his 'Final Four' on consecutive weekends and improve his seeding prior to the beginning of the "Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" championship that begins in September.

Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has visited Victory Lane at a record 19 of the 23 tracks currently on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. The only tracks he has yet to visit Victory Lane in NASCAR's premier division: Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This year marks the first that both Texas and Phoenix will host two events during a season, giving the four-time series champion an additional race at each venue to secure that elusive victory. Gordon's first opportunity at Texas will occur this Sunday in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500, then he has an opportunity to eliminate Phoenix from the list the following Saturday.

"This DuPont team is aware of the fact that we haven't won at Texas or Phoenix," Gordon said. "It's not a goal of ours to win at each track because it's a record. We look at it as something that is within our reach that we haven't accomplished...yet."

In eight starts at Texas, Gordon has captured four top-fives -- all four occurring in the past four events -- with a best finish of second in 2002. Last year, Gordon was oh-so-close to his first win at the high-banked 1.5-mile speedway before having to settle for third.

Everything was falling into place and I thought we had a great shot at the win," Gordon said. "We were leading with about 25 laps to go when the engine started losing power. The alternator had drained the battery and, by the time I switched to the backup battery, we had fallen to fourth."

In 12 starts at the relatively flat one-mile Phoenix track, Gordon has amassed five top-fives and 10 top-10's with a best finish of third in 2002 and 2004.J"I believe we had a shot to win both of those races at Phoenix," Gordon said. "We had a great car in 2002, we just didn't have the track position we needed at the end of the race to battle for the win.

"Last year, pit strategy helped us get the lead at the end of the race, but we needed it to stay green to have a chance. When that caution flag waved with about 15 to go, I knew we were a sitting duck on the restart."

Last Sunday, Gordon rebounded from three laps down at Martinsville to secure his 71st victory and become the first multi-race winner of the 2005 season. The win also extended his streak of multiple win seasons to 12 -- the longest current streak in NASCAR's premier division -- and moved him up six positions in the point standings to sixth, 205 behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson.

A win this weekend would place him more securely into a coveted top-10 position, and mark the 21st time that Gordon has won back-to-back races during his 13-year career.

A win this weekend would also draw him closer to a No. 1 seed, that much closer to a fifth championship.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson