Special Weekend Ahead for Gordon
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on June 23, 2011 | 9:24 A.M. EST
“There’s no doubt this is probably my favorite weekend of racing, regardless of what happens on the track." (Photo: Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon hopes to cap off a busy few days in California with another victory at Infineon Raceway in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Before he takes the green flag in Sunday’s first road course race of the Sprint Cup Series season, Gordon will take part in a variety of special events around the release of the animated movie “Cars 2,” which features the four-time champion voicing the character “Jeff Gorvette.”
“My role is fairly small,” said Gordon. “Lightning McQueen and Mater and some of his buddies are in the movie, and I’m one of their new buddies. It’s an international spy thriller, so they go all over the world.
“It was a blast.”
The California native will have his family with him and expects to spend time with other members of his clan as well as friends on the west coast.
“There’s no doubt this is probably my favorite weekend of racing, regardless of what happens on the track,” said Gordon. “It’s just a magical time for me with my daughter’s birthday party, seeing my biological father and other family members, and seeing friends I went to elementary school with and raced with out here.
“It’s just a special weekend and it puts me in an incredibly positive frame of mind going into the race on Sunday.”
That could be bad news for Gordon’s competitors.
He has five wins at the twisting road circuit as well as five poles, 11 top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes in 18 starts. He has led 437 laps, which is 276 more laps than the nearest active competitor Mark Martin.
But as of late Gordon has not been the Infineon “King of the Road.” He has not led a lap at the track in four years and is hoping the team’s recent testing program will rectify that this weekend.
“We’ve struggled on the road courses recently, and that’s not something we’re accustomed to,” said Gordon, who is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. “It’s not something we like, so we tested at Mid-Ohio and have been working really hard to make improvements.”
“I’m hoping that test will get us closer to being more competitive this weekend.
“This is a very challenging track. On a road course, you typically want to attack the braking zones. Here, with the elevation changes and the off-cambered corners, you have to be very careful not to over-attack or drive too hard.
“Hopefully we find the right balance with speed this weekend.”