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Gordon ready to hit the road

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 parts 350K.

"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 results."

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 point.

"I like road-course racing," Gordon continues. "I've watched good road course racers do it. I've tried to analyze what they do."

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 transmissions."

"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 here."

"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 beat!"

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.

Submitted by: Charlie

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