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Gordon to enjoy "old" Daytona, one more time
Jeff Gordon
With hot summer temperatures expected this weekend, six-time Daytona International Speedway winner Jeff Gordon plans to enjoy the "slip 'n slide" during Saturday night's 400-miler. Earlier this year during the Daytona 500, the pavement began breaking up in turn 2 on the 2.5-mile track. While a 'quick fix' allowed the race to run its scheduled distance (and beyond), the track will be repaved after this weekend giving the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet one last opportunity to race on a surface he might just consider the best. "That old pavement - how it wears, what it does to the tires, how the cars drive on it and how you have to drive it as a driver - is the best," said Gordon, who holds the record for most all-time restrictor plate victories with 12. "We're going to miss that old pavement. "Other than the problem with it coming up like it did during the '500,' that's what you want everywhere you race.

"New pavement just doesn't wear out the tires like old pavement. When we come back here for Speedweeks, it's going to be a totally unique and different Daytona. That can be great - or not.

"This weekend, we're going to try to take advantage of the old pavement, enjoy it as much as we can, and slip and slide around here like we normally do in July." Along with six victories at the Florida track, Gordon has three poles, 11 top-fives and 17 top-10's in 35 starts. But this Saturday night's event will be like none before because it features a restrictor-plate opening of 1 1/32 inches - the largest restrictor plate since the horsepower-reducing plates were mandated in 1988 - and a return to the spoiler.

"I expect handling to be at a premium this weekend," said Gordon, who is fifth in the standings and 187 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. "Handling was important here in February, so it should be real important this weekend with the higher track temperatures.

"The spoiler adds a little drag, but the bigger plate should make up for it." And a trip to Victory Lane could make up for the fact Daytona will never be the same again.
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