January 2007 Random News

Endurance Nets Podium Finish
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (January 28)- - Jeff Gordon's first Grand Am race was certainly one to remember. The #10 SunTrust team led the event in the first hour with Max Angelelli behind the wheel, but went into the garage area in the second hour due to an overheating problem with Wayne Taylor at the controls. The team returned four laps down with Jan Magnussen handling the driving tasks. Gordon took over at 4:30pm/eastern as the sun began setting. After adjusting his seat belts while at speed, Gordon's debut got off to a rough start when he hit the end of the pit wall following a pit stop in the fourth hour. Eventually the car lost the clutch, which made pit stops a difficult process. Angelelli took over at 6:30pm with the team down 5 laps. He drove three hours and moved up to 6th place, trailing only by 2 laps. Taylor went in at 10:00pm, with Magnussen taking over at 11:30pm with the SunTrust team in 7th place, three laps behind the overall lead. As the race neared the halfway point, the team was in 4th place and 3 laps down. A lengthy red flag to repair a guard rail stopped the race at 1am for an hour. In the overnight hours, Angelelli made up another lap, and Gordon climbed in around 5am. Rain eventually enveloped the track, forcing Gordon from the car about an hour later. Magnussen took over behind the wheel and on the track as well. In a constant drizzle, he moved up to 3rd, just one lap off the pace. The rain subsided after daybreak and Angelelli replaced Magnussen in the 20th hour of the event. He challenged for the lead of the event in the 21st hour, but pit stops hindered his efforts due to the lack of a clutch. Magnussen returned to the car in the 22nd hour. A brake problem with less than 40 minutes left brought the car to pit road for an extended stop. Magnussen returned two laps off the pace and finished 3rd, thus allowing the SunTrust team to celebrate with the top finishers of the event. After the race, Gordon said he'd be back to run the Rolex 24 again. "I had a great experience with Wayne and his whole group," Gordon said. "I worked a lot with Max during the tests and him and Jan were so helpful to get me up to speed. I had a blast out there, but I made some mistakes so I'm going to have to come back because I don't like to make mistakes. I want to come back and fix those and give it another try."

Accentuating The Positive
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (January 24)- - The NASCAR media made its way to Hendrick Motorsports on January 24 to meet and greet the organization's owner and lineup of drivers for 2007. In general, the media tour is a choreographed event. Every race team looks ahead to the season with promise. The drivers may make bold predictions on their success, while the gathered media record each word and, invariably, churn out the same articles with the same premise year after year. "We're excited about the new year even though we're still trying to celebrate winning the championship," said HMS President Rick Hendrick. "Last year was awesome because we had three of our teams in the Chase and Jimmie Johnson ended up winning it for us. We've had a lot going on in the off-season trying to get ready for this season."

Lessons Learned At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. (January 17)- - Jeff Gordon concluded pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 17 in preparation for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. Overall, Gordon turned the 9th fastest lap in pre-season testing at Daytona.

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