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Event Preview Fact Sheet

NASCAR Winston Cup Points Position: 26th


  • This Week’s Race Car (chassis No. 89) is a brand-new race car. This car was tested at Atlanta last month.
  • Gordon won the pole position for the March 1997 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • Gordon won the pole position in his career-first stock car superspeedway event in the ARCA race at Atlanta for car owner Junie Donlavey
  • Gordon will sign autographs Thursday from 4-6 p.m. at the Cingular Wireless store in Canton, Ga.

The address is 3760 Sixes Road, Suite 132. The store number is 678-493-8148.

  • The Atlanta 500 will be broadcast live on FOX and PRN on Sunday, March 10th at 12:30 p.m. ET. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday, March 8th at 3 p.m. ET.


“I’ve really struggled at Atlanta ever since they re-configured the track a few years ago. I sat on the pole at Atlanta the first two times I raced there — in the 1990 ARCA race and 1997 Winston Cup race. But it takes a completely different line to get around the track now than it did back when I won the pole. So, the Cingular Wireless team tested at Atlanta a couple of weeks ago and really picked up some speed. With Kevin Harvick’s help, we were able to pick up quite a bit of time on our laps. That’s where a multi-car team really helps each individual part. I have a lot more confidence after that test and I’m actually looking forward to going back to Atlanta. With Kevin winning at Atlanta one year ago and us testing there, I think the Cingular Wireless team will be strong.

“Atlanta is going to be another tough race for the Chevrolets because downforce is so important there. The Chevrolet teams are at a disadvantage right now compared to the Fords and Dodges. It’s been tough on the Chevrolets lately because we worked so hard on our superspeedway program and then the other manufacturers were given a break and allowed to catch up so easily at Daytona. Now we’re also at a disadvantage at the other tracks. It was tough on us at Las Vegas and it will definitely be hard on us at Atlanta but we’ll make it.

“Getting around Atlanta is an art in itself because there are some pretty big bumps on the track. If I drive the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet into turn one and drive the normal line, I’ll ride over some pretty large bumps. Either the car has to work really well or we have to compensate for that in order to get through the bumps. We did a little of both with the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet when we tested. The sooner you can get back in the gas coming off turn two, the quicker your lap is going to be. The quicker lap is on the bottom of the race track for qualifying but that will completely change in the race. In the race after the tires go away, guys will be running really high on the track.

“When you go down the backstretch and off into turn three, it looks completely different than turn one. From a driver’s point of view, it doesn’t seem like turn three is banked as much as turn one. Plus, there aren’t any real bumps getting into three, although there are some halfway between turns three and four. The track seems like it flattens out more coming off of turns three and four than it does exiting one and two.

“I’m really pleased with the performance of the Cingular Wireless team the first three races of the year. I haven’t yet had a car that wasn’t capable of running in the top 10. When we weren’t very good in Happy Hour last week at Las Vegas, the Cingular team was able to respond to what I needed and make adjustments to give me a good race car. The most important thing to improving a race car is communicating with the crew chief and telling him where the problem is so we can work through it to make the car better. I think we’re doing a great job of getting that part down — I just need to learn to be a bit more patient on the race track and we’ll be running up front a lot more.”