DARLINGTON, South Carolina -- Jeff Gordon will attempt to win his 60th career NASCAR Winston Cup race this Sunday in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. If he visits Victory Lane Sunday, it will be his first win since August 24, 2002, a span of eight days.
Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, snapped a much publicized 31-race winless streak last Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked his fifth win at Bristol and the first time he has won the night event. This week, Gordon visits the only other track on the circuit where he has five wins.
"We're excited about Darlington," Gordon said. "Bristol was a great win for us and we enjoyed the victory lane celebration. I'm sure the guys enjoyed their day off Sunday, but our main focus now is running well here and hopefully celebrating again Sunday afternoon.
"We always seem to be strong here and I think a lot of it has to do with qualifying well and respecting the track. The track has to be your number one concern and it's much easier to do that when you're not stuck in traffic in the back. Whether you're a veteran or not, it's tough to race from the back.
"These young guys are pretty brave and they're making it more difficult to qualify up front here. They're driving it deep into the corner and, if it sticks for them, they'll cut a great lap."
In 19 races at Darlington, Gordon has five wins including a record four consecutive Southern 500 victories from 1995 - 1998. He has three poles, 10 top-fives, 13 top-10's and has led 1,174 laps out of a possible 6,026 laps, or 19.5 percent.
Over the past 14 races at "The Track Too Tough To Tame," Gordon has only two finishes worse than ninth and only one finish worse than 13th -- a 40th-place DNF (did not finish) in March of 2001 due to engine failure. Since that day, Gordon has been running at the finish in 55 consecutive races, a modern-era record (1972 - present).
"When we weren't winning, finishing the races is what kept us in the points chase," Gordon said. "Consistency wins championships and we stayed within striking distance during our winless streak.
"But now that we've tasted victory, this team wants more."
Which means Sunday may just be the continuation of a winning streak.