Cup driver finds good results at track no matter when the race is held
By: Associated Press on March 14, 2014
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran Jeff Gordon has raced and won at Darlington several occasions and in numerous diverse months.
Jeff Gordon’;s grown accustomed to alter in NASCAR, specifically at Darlington Raceway.
The 4-time Sprint Cup series champion has won races at the track “As well Difficult to Tame,” in March, Could, August and September and is prepared for Darlington’;s most recent schedule shift when the Southern 500 will take area April twelve.
Gordon says factors are often modifying in stock automobile racing and when Darlington holds its race does not matter — as prolonged as he’;s lined up at the starting line. Gordon is the series’; energetic leader with 7 victories at Darlington, trailing Hall of Famers David Pearson with 10 and the late Dale Earnhardt with 9.
“It’;s still Darlington,” he stated. “The track situations may possibly alter somewhat, but you want to be good and open-minded about what is very best for the followers, for the sport.”
Soon after all, “The Lady in Black” was a considerably various layout when a youthful Gordon very first drove it in a Busch Grand Nationwide automobile in the early 1990s. The start off-finish line was on the backstretch, there were no lights and the surface was the exact same tire-chewing asphalt racers like Pearson and Richard Petty grew up on.
Gordon quickly grew to enjoy it and became the Darlington master of this latest generation of racers. His last victory right here came in Could 2007. Since then the track has been repaved, which Gordon believes has evened the taking part in field amongst rivals at Darlington.
“We’;ve had to more aggressive with the new pavement and that might have taken away a minor advantage of what we had,” he mentioned.
It has not slowed him down also much: Gordon’;s completed in the leading 5 in 4 of the previous 6 Southern 500s.
Gordon visited the track Thursday, meeting supporters acquiring tickets for next month’;s occasion and taking a prize-winner for a tempo-auto ride all around Darlington.
2 sisters, 6-12 months-outdated Leanna and 6-yr-outdated Kayla Sheffield, are enormous Gordon supporters and acquired to miss school to see their favourite driver. The girls gave him a black-and-white checkered-flag pattern scarf for his very own 6-yr-old daughter, Ella Sophia.
“Thanks, this will preserve her truly warm,” Gordon explained, draping the scarf all around his neck.
Gordon’;s check out completed at an area meals bank just before he left for Bristol, Tenn., and this weekend’;s Food City 500 where his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports group will attempt and continue its strong start this season.
Gordon’;s had 3 leading-10 showings — 4th at the Daytona 500, fifth a week later on in Phoenix and ninth final weekend in Las Vegas — and stands fifth in factors 18 back of leader Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Gordon mentioned he and crew chief Alan Gustafson are connecting as are Gustafson and team engineers.
“I’;m very enthusiastic,” Gordon stated. “It really is 1 of the ideal begins we’;ve had in a extended, prolonged time, if ever.”
Speaking of alter, Gordon loves what NASCAR has carried out with its factors method to place more emphasis on winning, its qualifying shift to the well-known knockout format and even the latest wrinkle of allowing teams to use a cooling unit and stop them from slowing down on the race track to minimize engine temperatures.
“NASCAR created a fantastic call,” Gordon stated of the qualifying adjustment.
Gordon explained he’;s long positioned prime significance on victories — he is third all-time with 88 wins — and his glad to know that one particular checkered flag this season gets you into the sport’;s 16-driver playoffs. He is also glad that once a win is secured, it gives drivers and crew chiefs the potential to take odds at much more wins as Gordon’;s teammate Earnhardt Jr. did in gambling that his fuel would hold in Las Vegas.
Earnhardt Jr. ran dry and received passed by Brad Keselowski on the final lap.
“Every thing we do is danger vs. reward,” Gordon stated. “You happen to be the seeing the benefits of getting that win [at Daytona] and letting Dale Jr. and [crew chief] Steve Letarte take that huge risk on fuel in Las Vegas. I like what they did.”
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