Gordon Looks For Three-Peat
April 16, 2004 | 10:31 A.M. EST
In 2003 Gordon completely swept both races, capturing two Bud Poles and posting two victories while leading 503 of a possible 1,000 laps. In 22 starts at the 0.526-mile track, he has five wins, four poles,12 top-fives and 16 top-10's. He has also started in the top five in the last seven races at the short track.
"I love Martinsville, because I run well there," said Gordon. "I pretty much grew up on short tracks and I really enjoy short-track competition. I think we need to have short tracks on our schedule, it offers the excitement that fans love to see.
"The track itself is tough to figure out and it's a little bit different tire," said Gordon. "Having good brakes is extremely important. That's one area where we've drastically improved since Robbie Loomis (crew chief) has come on board."
The DuPont team is no stranger to the three-peat. Along with three victories from the pole at Infineon Raceway (1997-1999), Gordon has also seen three consecutive wins at Darlington (fall 1995-1996), Dover (fall 1995-1996) and Watkins Glen (1997-1999).
"I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the record books," said Gordon. "But after the last few years, it's not surprising that Martinsville is up there with places like Sonoma and Darlington as a place where we could win three consecutive races.
"The competition is so tough these days -- we're happy with a one-peat -- let alone a three-peat."
Despite his five top-10's this season and a ninth-place position in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, it is still a less-than Gordon-like beginning. Critics have been eager to say that Gordon and the No. 24 team have lost their focus.
"Our team is as strong as ever, we just haven't been able to capitalize a whole lot this season," said Gordon. "It's a long season but I know we're a team that works hard and we know what we're capable of.
"We're happy to get some momentum from Texas and take it to a track like Martinsville and get the critics off our back a little bit. We'll go to Martinsville and hopefully put it to these guys."
What better way to do it, than to celebrate a three-peat in Victory Lane at Martinsville?
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