April 2007 Random News

Daytona's Golden Age
TALLADEGA, AL. (April 27) – - Jeff Gordon took part in a press conference to announce a contest to design the 50th Daytona 500 ticket. Gordon and Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway, unveiled "Celebrity Tickets for Charity" where proceeds will benefit the Jeff Gordon Foundation. To commemorate the 50th running of the Great American Race, the ticket to next year's Daytona 500 will be designed by a famous actor, TV personality, professional athlete or musician.

Pushing Product
TALLADEGA, AL. (April 28) – - Jeff Gordon appeared as a guest on "For Race Fans Only" on QVC from Talladega, Alabama on Friday, April 27. Gordon discussed his recent victory in Phoenix, upcoming paint schemes, and several charitable initiatives. The show originated from the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega with host Dan Hughes.

Knight Of The Phoenix
AVONDALE, AZ. (April 22) – - Finally, Jeff Gordon has returned to victory lane. Gordon's first win since July 2006 was far from ordinary. He started the Subway 500 at Phoenix International Raceway with an unexpected burst of energy. Gordon's helmet wiring was awry, and a mad dash to the hauler was needed to find a replacement with working communications. Gordon still managed to keep his pole position, telling the team "That's going to be the most excitement we have all night." As events turned out, he was wrong. Gordon led the first 26 laps, and never fell lower than fourth as the race progressed. Crew chief Steve Letarte continued the lab experiment that adjusting the Chevrolet Impala requires. Gordon continued to move forward, even after incidental contact with Kevin Harvick's car on lap 164. The key moment of the race came during its only green flag pit stops. Gordon had just entered pit road on lap 283 for his final stop when Dave Blaney crashed. Gordon was able to complete his pit stop and take the lead when other cars pitted. On the restart, Martin Truex, who was on the tail end of the lead lap, blocked Gordon's progress long enough for Tony Stewart to take the lead. However, Gordon made an equally daring pass to retake the lead with 11 laps to go and pulled away for his 76th career win, his first in the Cup Series at Phoenix, and his first of the season. It was also the first time Gordon won from the pole position since July 2004. On the victory lap, Gordon paid tribute to Dale Earnhardt, whom he tied for wins on the all-time list, by holding the #3 flag.

Where It All Began
ROSSBURG, OH. (April 17) – - Jeff Gordon will return to race at one of the tracks where he became a sprint car star almost 20 years ago. Eldora Speedway’s much heralded Nextel Prelude to the Dream will be held on Wednesday, June 6. Track owner Tony Stewart will welcome many of his Nextel Cup brethren and other racing notables for an evening of dirt track competition on the nationally recognized half-mile clay oval. The talent will again be placed behind the wheel of Late Model race cars. Sixteen years ago, Gordon left victorious after winning the Midget portion of the USAC Four Crown Nationals. Among the other drivers scheduled to join Gordon and Stewart for the Late Model race are Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Ken Schrader, Dave Blaney, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Mike Wallace, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, and Denny Hamlin.

Loneliest Star In Texas
FORT WORTH, TX. (April 16) – - After several weeks of knocking on the door to victory lane, Jeff Gordon appeared ready to score his first win of the season in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. He pulled away to a comfortable lead on the final restart with 38 laps to go. But Gordon hit the wall coming off turn four and damaged the steering on his car. He held the lead for a few more laps before Matt Kenseth passed with 17 laps to go. Gordon would fall to fourth at the finish after dominating the event. Gordon started first and led until lap 153 when Dale Earnhardt Jr took the top spot. He ran in the top-five for the balance of the event, but dropped to 8th due to a problem on the right front during a pit stop on lap 239. However, he caught a break when Kyle Busch and Earnhardt Jr wrecked after Tony Stewart spun out with 82 laps to go. A two-tire change moved him up to fourth place. He took 3rd from Mark Martin and passed Kenseth for second. He inherited the lead when Kurt Busch came onto pit road. A debris caution brought him onto pit road for the final time, and he left with the lead. Things were set for a run to the finish and victory #76. But human error turned a winning car into another solid effort without a victory. "I'm just sick, I don't want to give races away," Gordon said. "I felt like we had the car to beat. I was getting a little tight. I came off of turn four and it just took off for no reason at all. I take the credit (blame) for it. We should have won this race. Another Texas race that got away from us-- we don't get opportunities at this place very often. But still all in all a good day to finish where we did."

Life In The Big Town
NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 10)- - The New York Post reports that NASCAR star Jeff Gordon has just become a full-time New Yorker. Gordon signed a one-year, $26,000-a-month lease for an apartment at the Park Imperial on West 56th Street. The report claims that Gordon and his wife Ingrid who are expecting their first child this summer, have taken a luxurious three-bedroom, three-bath apartment on a high floor in the 70-story building with soaring ceilings, unobstructed Central Park views and custom appliances. The unit is one floor below the Sean "Diddy" Combs family apartment. Last year, Gordon, who was living in Charlotte, N.C., bought a 3,800-square-foot condo at 15 Central Park West, where construction won't be completed until the end of 2007. (Braden Kiel/NY Post)

No Substitute For Preparation
RICHMOND, VA. (April 6)- - "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail," was a maxim often recited by the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden during his record-breaking tenure in which the Bruins won 10 championships. Fast forwarding to the present day, Hendrick Motorsports has won both races in the revamped race car in the past two weeks. And that comes down to their preparation. During a mid-week test session at Richmond International Raceway, Jeff Gordon once again flexed the Hendrick power by posting the third fastest lap of the 50 drivers at the open test session during the evening session on April 3. "The Richmond test is very critical," Gordon said. "I am going to say guys who didn't test at Darlington are going to be in trouble. I got to do the tire test and I feel very fortunate. Phoenix is the same. The guys that did the tire test out there will have a big advantage going in to that race. I think those too tracks are the two most important tracks as well as Bristol with the car that we have seen so far. We have been horrible (at Richmond) the last couple of races so I am hoping this new car is better for us there than what the current car is."

The Pitchman
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 5)- - Jeff Gordon recently filmed a portion of a new Tylenol commerical that will debut in the coming weeks. Joining Gordon in the spot will be Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Elliott Sadler. "Tylenol has got I think the funniest commercial you've ever seen in your life coming out," Sadler said. "We just filmed it (in late March), and me and Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson and Dale, Jr., and Jeff Gordon are in it but they filmed on a different date. We were crying, I mean, crying laughing for a couple hours at a time trying to film it. I can't wait for the fans to get to see the lighter side of some of our personalities."

Unsatisfying Block Party
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 2) – - Jeff Gordon came away from the Goody's 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a runner-up finish and remains on top of the NASCAR points standings. But Gordon was doomed to disappointment due in large part to his relationship with the winning driver-- Jimmie Johnson. As the laps wound down, Gordon avoided hitting Johnson too hard to knock the eventual winner out of shape in the corners. When combined with Johnson's blocking on the straightaways, it made for a frustrating finish for Gordon. He started the race from the 3rd position and took the lead for the first time on lap 56 from Denny Hamlin. Gordon lost the lead to Hamlin on lap 139 while in heavy traffic, but regained the top spot from Tony Stewart on lap 227. On lap 235, Gordon suddenly slowed in turn one and dropped back to 11th place. A pit stop under caution soon followed and Gordon fell to 15th. From there he began working his way back through traffic and re-entered the top-10 on lap 276. He passed Stewart for 5th on lap 314, and was running 4th when the race was red flagged due to a passing rain shower on lap 358. After the delay, Gordon moved into 2nd position before pitting with 119 laps to go. He restarted 9th, but was behind Johnson who pitted on the previous caution flag. Ultimately, that early pit stop won the race for Johnson. Gordon restarted in 10th but worked through traffic and into the top-5 with 105 laps to go. With 53 laps to go, he passed Hamlin for the 2nd position. In the final 15 laps, Gordon had opportunities on the inside of Johnson but avoided contact with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate off the corners. On the final lap, Gordon dove low in turn four but minor contact from Johnson broke his momentum. Johnson won his 3rd race of the season by about half a car length. "We had an awesome car," Gordon said. "Only I could get by him was to wreck him. He's my teammate and it's going to be some interesting racing going forward because he was blocking me really bad. I thought I had a chance at him a couple of times. He shut the door pretty good. Like I said, I'm not going to wreck a guy to win a race. I tried to move him but with these cars it's tough to do. He did exactly what he should have done."

Learning On The Fly
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 2)- - The first two races with the new NASCAR race car has shown which teams are ahead of the curve. The dominant cars at Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway were owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. "The thing is I am still looking for it is just how do we make this car do the same things (as the Monte Carlo)," Gordon said. "That is the real challenge. This car, it is hard to get it to feel that way. It might not ever ever really feel like the old car, but it is a race car. As a race car, you still have to try and achieve the same things. Five of the last 10 races are with the new car, that is the most important part in my opinion."

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