DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeff Gordon has visited Victory Lane three times in the annual 400-miler event at Daytona International Speedway. Can he make it a fourth this Fourth weekend?
Overall, Gordon has six victories, three pole positions, 12 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s in 41 starts at the 2.5-mile track. But a lot has changed during the course of his 21-year career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A lot has changed since last year.
“It’s a different aero package and this new Generation-6 car has a lot of drag but a lot of down force in it,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Coating Systems Chevrolet SS. “It’s a little bit different in the draft.
“Earlier this year here we saw where you could upset the cars a little bit more when you got up close to them and outside of them.”
Lack of cooperation amongst the drivers seemed to be prevalent during the first race with the new generation of car.
“Everybody was running the high line and protecting their position in the Daytona 500,” said the all-time leader in restrictor-plate victories with 12. “It just didn’t seem like enough drivers really wanted to get organized to get the bottom lane working.
“They were pretty committed to staying in that outside lane, so that made it very challenging. Everybody kind of protected their position until those crucial moments in the closing laps.”
After dropping to 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings following a Lap 6 accident at Michigan International Speedway, Gordon has climbed back up to 12th in the two races since on the heels of consecutive top-10s. But missing the “big one,” the multi-car accidents that typically occur with big-pack racing on restrictor-plate tracks, will go a long way in continuing the climb up the standings.
“The only unknown is when that big wreck is going to happen and what is going to cause it,” Gordon said. “Sometimes it happens when you least expect it, but you can be assured that when you get a full group of cars in the closing laps racing for a win, it’s going to happen.
“It’s just whether or not you get caught up in it or not.”
-Hendrick Motorsports PR