Tragedy At Talladega
TALLADEGA, AL. (April 25)- - Donny Wright and Keith Stell were killed after the flagpole they were putting up fell onto some power lines on Monday in the campground at Talladega Superspeedway. The news reports gave window-dressing to the deaths of those two race fans at Talladega on Monday. But there's a human side to any tragic story. On the saddest day of her life, Regina Wright reached out to make sure that her husband was not just known for the way he died. Wright was a longtime Jeff Gordon fan. "We used to ride around the campsight and proudly show the #24," said Regina Wright. "No matter what if Jeff won or didn't he still was a true fan. Even on Saturdays and Sundays when races were out of town and we couldn't go, it was always on our TV." The flagpole the fans were attempting to put up at Talladega had a Jeff Gordon flag on it. "I never knew or understood the love he had for the race until I joined him," Wright said. "I understand more why Donny loved the Gordon team. The race will not be the same but I will continue to go and have his spirit with me on every turn."
Performance Alliance Returns
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 24)- - For the second consecutive season, Jeff Gordon will feature a DuPont Performance Alliance paint scheme in the annual All-Star Challenge at Lowes Motor Speedway on May 20. Performance Alliance is a network of collision repair centers and auto repair shops committed to enhancing customer satisfaction. Performance Alliance body shops strive to take the guesswork out of collision repair by improving processes and delivering consistent results. Like last year, the car's color scheme was designed by graphic artist Sam Bass. The paint scheme reverses the primary colors of the Fire and Flames design, and the Performance Alliance logo and name will be featured on the hood, side panels and TV panel. Gordon will also be wearing a matching Performance Alliance-themed uniform for the special event.
Harvick Sweeps Arizona
PHOENIX, AZ. (April 23)- - Kevin Harvick pulled off the weekend sweep at Phoenix International Raceway by winning both the Busch series and Nextel Cup series races. In Saturday night's main event, he made a late charge to pass Tony Stewart for 2nd place with 14 laps to go, and then took the lead from Greg Biffle with 10 laps to go to win the Subway 500. Harvick claimed his sixth career victory as he continues to negotiate a contract extension with Richard Childress Racing. Further back in the field, Jeff Gordon's scoresheet will read 10th place, but it was hardly the effort that Gordon had hoped for. His car started the race extremely loose as he dropped from his 19th starting spot back to 30th by lap 85. When the sun went down, the handling improved, but not nearly enough to contend. He worked his way up to 20th on lap 119, and was in 15th place on lap 150. In the second half of the race, Gordon ran between 13th and 15th, the last car on the lead lap. With two laps to go, five drivers ahead of him ran out of fuel thus allowing Gordon to claim a top-10 finish. "We stayed on the lead lap and fought for everything we could and got a top-10," Gordon said. "I don't know how we did because we certainly didn't have the car to do it. Right there at the end, we just wore the right sides off and I was just limping it home and the fuel mileage helped us."
Roots of Racing
SOUTH FLORIDA. (April 13)- - Jeff Gordon will appear at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wisconsin on Wednesday, June 28. "This is the first time race fans in the Upper Midwest will be able to see Jeff Gordon in their own backyard," said Steve Kaufman, part-owner of the facility. The track will hold a special Jeff Gordon Night complete with an appearance from the four-time champion. Tickets are currently on sale at www.cedarlakespeedway.com or by calling 612-363-0479. Cedar Lake Speedway was founded in 1957 and is a 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval track. The weekly Saturday night racing program features Super Late Models, Modifieds, Super Stocks Street Stocks, and Midwest Modifieds. Tickets are just $20 for adults, $10 for students age 6 to 16, and 5 and under are free. All seating is general admission for this event and racing will kick off at 7:00 p.m.
Hunting And Gathering
RICHMOND, VA. (April 13)- - Track testing can often be related to the primitive practice of hunting and gathering. The driver heads out on the track for a few laps while the data recorders gather information on how the car performs. Jeff Gordon concluded a two-day test session at Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday. The test days gave the DuPont team a rare treat-- a test session on a Nextel Cup track. With NASCAR limiting the amount of tests in 2006, laps on Cup tracks are at a premium. Gordon will look to improve on two sub-30th place finishes at Richmond a year ago. Gordon is coming off a disappointing 22nd place finish at Texas Motor Speedway where he struggled with handling issues for the first 200 laps before a cut tire sealed his fate. He had hoped to use Texas as a measuring stick on where the team was with its downforce track program. While Gordon did contend for the top-10 at various times, he was not a threat for the leaders proving that more work lies ahead. "All of the Hendrick (Motorsports) cars were off today," Gordon said. "We're trying to experiment with how to get better later in the year and maybe we learned what direction not to go." At the front of the field, Kasey Kahne passed Tony Stewart in the closing stages to claim his second victory of the season and third of his career.
Results Match The Effort
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 3)- - This week the DuPont team had the finish they deserved. After coming within a half-mile of a 3rd place finish at Bristol before getting spun out on the final lap, Jeff Gordon posted his best finish of the 2006 season with a runner-up effort in the DirecTV 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Gordon overcame a flat tire early in the event to challenge race winner Tony Stewart for the top spot in the closing stages. However, Stewart-- who led the most laps for the third straight race at Martinsville-- pulled away on the final restart to capture his 25th career win. Gordon started 8th and worked his way up to 5th by lap 25. However, a cut tire on lap 90 relegated him to the tail end of the lead lap in 25th place. He battled race traffic and handling issues on the car before making his way back into the top-10 on lap 171. He steadily gained spots during the caution-filled event and took 5th from Kevin Harvick on lap 302. After tightening the car up under caution with 75 laps to go, Gordon marched toward the front. He passed Kyle Busch for 4th place with 35 laps to go, took 3rd from Elliott Sadler ten laps later, and moved into the runner-up spot with a pass on Jimmie Johnson shortly thereafter. However, as he began closing in on Stewart, the caution came out with 15 laps to go. Another caution with 8 to go brought a three-lap shootout in which Stewart easily held off his challengers. "On the restart my car took off," Gordon said. "I knew if I could get my nose in there it was going to be interesting. But I overheated the right front tire and the brakes, so I had to take it a little bit easier. We weren't the best car today. We had to work on the handling, but we got it a lot better at the end. I was happy to be battling in the top-five, but I didn't have enough for Tony on that last restart."
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