Jeff Gordon fans will have the chance to see him go the extra mile(s) twice this weekend starting with an extended race event on Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway and ending with an appearance as a celebrity builder on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on Sunday evening.
Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 600 has been lengthened from 500k to 600k, which equates to 63 more circuits around the one-mile track. The race may be longer, but the drivers will still have to deal with a setting sun during the weekend.
“The biggest issue is dealing with the sun entering turn one during qualifying,” said Gordon, who has one win (2007), three poles, eight top-fives and 16 top-10’s in 22 starts at the Arizona track.
“We only get two looks at it while trying to set a very quick time. It’s right in our eyes during the race, too, but it’s easier to judge then because we are driving into the corner lap after lap after lap.”
Saturday night’s event is now the second ‘600’ on this year’s schedule, although it is much shorter in distance than the 600-miler at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. There are similarities in the two events, though, according to crew chief Steve Letarte.
“Both start in the day and finish under cooling track conditions at night,” Letarte said. “So you may have to give up some speed early in the race to be sure the car is faster toward the end of the race. “And that means we have to be patient in the early going.”
Earlier this year, Gordon helped Ty Pennington and the designers build a home for the Suggs family in S.C. The show is scheduled to air this Sunday, April 11, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC (check local listings).
“It was definitely a great experience for me to be involved in the project, and the Suggs family is very deserving of their new home,” said Gordon, who is seventh in the point standings and 125 behind leader Jimmie Johnson. “It was incredible to see what was accomplished by the designers, the builders and the volunteers in such a short period of time.”
With Gordon going the extra mile this weekend, what is one more if it is a Victory Lap after the race on Saturday.
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