Watkins Glen: Jeff Gordon preview

Fifth win, 15,000 career laps led in reach for Gordon at the Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - As the all-time road course winner and four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Jeff Gordon has yet another milestone to reach - winning his fifth Sirius at the...

Fifth win, 15,000 career laps led in reach for Gordon at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - As the all-time road course winner and four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, Jeff Gordon has yet another milestone to reach - winning his fifth Sirius at the Glen race this Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

In addition, Gordon can become the second active Winston Cup driver to acquire a career-high 15,000 laps led, second only to Rusty Wallace who has 19,313. However, Gordon can reach this mark of notability in just over 10 ½ years. Leading at least one lap at each track since his inaugural Winston Cup race in 1992, Gordon now sits with 14,917 laps led or 18,717.637 miles, approximately a trip to Sydney, Australia and back or seven driving trips from Watkins Glen to Infineon Raceway.

Reaching this milestone assures him a place in Winston Cup racing's prestigious historical records. However, Gordon will need to control at least 83 of the 90 laps this weekend to reach this mark. Since racing there, Gordon has led 160 of the total laps he has ever raced at the 2.45-mile track. Despite the difficult task at hand, he did lead 80 of the 112 laps in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in 1999. As the odds fall in his favor, Gordon also leads the series in laps led this season with 900.

"Leading 160 laps sounds a lot easier than it is, especially on a road course," Gordon said. "Over time, we've gained the confidence to lead laps and win."

Time and experience have proven to be in favor of Gordon. Through combined efforts at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen, Gordon has led 429 laps, the approximate driving distance from Charlotte to New Hampshire International Speedway. Capturing the record for the highest number of laps led at both Infineon and Watkins Glen, Gordon looks to extend that lead this weekend.

"However, it is not about leading 83 laps but about leading one - the one at the end."

The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet has ample experience in leading that one important lap, especially at The Glen. As the all-time NASCAR Winston Cup winner here, Gordon has out-maneuvered the rest of the pack four times in 10 starts (1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001). In addition, he has recorded six top fives in 10 attempts and one pole (1998) at The Glen.

"Each week, we don't focus on improving our stats, just on staying near the top of the Winston Cup point standings," Gordon said. "But to reach 15,000 laps led says more about the No. 24 DuPont team than anything. This team has overcome every obstacle in an effort to stay up front and they deserve that mark of achievement."

After testing last week at Watkins Glen, the No. 24 DuPont team will unload a new chassis geared to winning yet another road course race. Gordon's 22nd road course race holds historical possibility for the Winston Cup champion.

"A lot of teams have stepped up their road course programs," Gordon said. "We didn't run as well as we would have liked here last year, so that is why we decided to use one of our tests. We learned a lot and hopefully it will show in our results Sunday."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Rusty Wallace