Tuesday, Nov 28

Gordon impressed with Michigan makeover

This weekend, be sure to catch Jeff Gordon on Extreme Makeover: Michigan International Speedway Edition.

For the second consecutive week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits a track that has been repaved during the offseason. Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday's Quicken Loans 400, has always been one of Gordon's favorite race tracks. It remains so even after a facelift.

"I am not a big fan of repaves, so the fact that I am talking positive about it - and still enjoying the racetrack as much as I always have - is a sign that I think they did a great job," said Gordon, who participated in the Goodyear tire test here in April. "Whatever it is about this track, it has always had a great feel to it.

"And, instead of having to go in and 'recreate' [that feel] like some tracks have had to do, they were basically able to pave over the top of what they had - and fix whatever they could - to keep it lasting as long as possible."

 In 38 starts at the Irish Hills track, Gordon has two wins (1998 and 2001), five poles, 18 top-fives and 24 top-10's. But the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will need to find the groove(s) quickly on the newly paved track if he is to battle for victory.

"It's a very fast track but a very comfortable feeling pace," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont "20 Years" Chevrolet. "The cars drove well and they stuck to the race track.

"The track drives so similar to the way it did before and I believe it's going to have multiple grooves. We just need it to widen out a little bit, and that is only going to come with laps."

Earlier this year at Auto Club Speedway, Gordon drove from his 21st starting position to inside the top five without the aid of a caution before pit road penalties ruined that effort. But the similarities of Auto Club Speedway to its "sister" track Michigan International Speedway are only in appearance now.

"They are both two-mile tracks, but there are not a lot of similarities now between the two," said Gordon. "I don't think because you ran well at California translates to running well here.

"But I am really looking forward to the race this weekend because we tested here and it went well, and because we've had strong performances recently.

"Now we just need a strong finish."



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