Indy Special Place To Gordon

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a special place in Jeff Gordon's heart, and the Hendrick Motorsports driver would like nothing better than to score a record fifth career victory in Sunday's running of the Brickyard 400.

His four wins at the famed speedway are a highlight of Gordon's storied career.

"They're huge for me," said Gordon. "I wasn't born there, but went to high school there, growing up there. Not just that, but being born in California, racing was everything to me. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500, guys like Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, all those guys were heroes of mine that I aspired to be.

"Living in Indiana, racing around Indiana, Indianapolis Raceway Park, the fairgrounds, Bloomington, all over the place, it was every short track open-wheel Sprint Cup driver's dream to race at Indianapolis one day."

A win this year would have even more meaning to Gordon, who is in the thick of the championship battle but has gone winless in over a year.

"Well, there's no doubt it would be a huge, huge victory for us because of the reasons that you spoke about: not going to Victory Lane in a while," Gordon said in a media teleconference earlier this week. "But yet look where we're at in the points, look at the top fives we've been putting together this year, especially recently. So we're knocking on the door. The timing might be just right."

Gordon and crew chief Steve Letarte have been preparing for Indianapolis for some time and the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion believes his team has a good battle plan for Sunday's race.

"Had a nice debrief after Chicago last week with the team," Gordon said. "We're having another one when I get off the phone here to talk about the Brickyard, things that we're going to be trying during practice, things that our guys have been planning for probably months that we've talked about briefly and we're going to get into it and keep it fresh in our minds.

"This is a big event. We know that. We know we're capable of winning. It's definitely getting down to crunch time for us getting in the Chase. It's not just about where we're at in points now; we need those bonus points to really prove to ourselves and everyone else that we can compete for this championship. I can't think of a better place to get 10 of those bonus points than this weekend at the Brickyard."

With his past success at the 2.5-mile track and the way the No. 24 DuPont team has been running this season, Gordon brings a great deal of confidence into the Indy weekend.

"This place has been really good to us in the past," he said. "With the way things are going for us, I think we've got an excellent shot at it."

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