In the left-hand
turn world of NASCAR Winston Cup Racing, most drivers
have trouble with the right-hand turns of road courses.
Most, that is, except Jeff Gordon.
Jeff Gordon has been on a
streak of 5 road course race victories in a row since the
'97 race at Watkins Glen. Although that streak gives him
the record in consecutive road course victories, 6 wins
in a row would set an unprecedented mark. And that is
just what the #24 DuPont Automotive Refinishes Team
intends to do at this weekend's Save-Mart/Kragen Auto
"This streak that we're
on right now is amazing," Gordon said. "I struggled at
the road courses during my first few years on the
circuit. I improved my road course skills and this DuPont
Automotive Finishes team stepped up our road course
program. The hard work we've put in is showing in our
Now, Gordon's season
hasn't been on par to be a typical Gordonesque season,
but hopefully things change this weekend. "Yeah, if we
don't run good at a road course we'll know something is
wrong," Gordon said last week at Pocono. Is this a hint
that something is wrong? It is a fact that Gordon and
Company are not running as well as they should, or as
well as they want to. Are they panicking? Hardly. Are
they going to show Robbie Loomis the backdoor? I don't
think so. What are they going to do? They are going to go
to a road course race with a proven car and try to beat
all the other "Joe's."
In other words, Jeff
Gordon and his team are going to Sears Point to make a
"I like road-course
racing," Gordon continues. "I've watched good road course
racers do it. I've tried to analyze what they
Gordon credits his
success to the people on his crew and the preparation of
his cars. Gearing is critical. "We've really gotten our
transmissions extremely close and we are just constantly
fine-tuning," Gordon said. "We've made huge jumps in the
last couple of years in our gearing and
"I think you have to be
confident in your shifting," Gordon said. "A guy that is
afraid, he's going to wheel hop every time he shifts.
That's a guy that's not going to be able to attack that
corner. Somebody that's comfortable with it is not going
to have to worry about that. You just go in there and
say, 'I know I need more gear here and less gear
"Confidence is something
that I definitely have going into a road course," Gordon
said. "But, I also respect the fact that the guys are
going to be building new cars and improving to catch up
to us. We've got to work hard to stay ahead."
Added incentive for
Gordon will be a return "home." He grew up in nearby
Vallejo and loves to race in front of the hometown fans.
"The fans always make me
feel at home at Sears Point," Gordon said. "Growing up so
close makes a victory here that much sweeter."
If Gordon can't fulfill
the six race streak, there will be one definite contender
for the win. "Mark was good out there last year," Gordon
points out. In fact, Martin was the last man to win a
road race not named Jeff, back in 1997 at Sears Point.
And Martin hasn't finished lower than eighth since 1994.
"It's really anybody's game on a road course."
But Gordon plays a
different game on the road. And even he knows trying to
extend his five-race winning streak to six will be tough.
He knows he carries this week's bull's eye.
"Sure we are, I mean
we've won five in a row, so I know the guys want to go
out there and beat us. I just hope we're the guy to
Well, no one has beat him
in since Martin back in 1997. I guess that shows that
when it comes to road courses, this Jeff isn't just
another Winston Cup Driver.