Monday, April 01, 2013

Gordon Hopes To Ring The Bell With Martinsville Win

Hendrick's Victory Bell is poised and ready
After Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Jeff Gordon hopes it is he for whom the bell tolls.

A relatively new tradition at Hendrick Motorsports is the ringing of the Victory Bell in each department following a win by one the organization's four cars. It's an experience the entire Gordon family has enjoyed following a No. 24 team victory.
"I savor wins, probably more so today than ever," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. "And prior to last year, I hadn't rung the bell before, so it was a new experience for me.
"My kids came to the shop to be a part of it, as well. The bell is so loud that they have to wear headsets, but they really seemed to enjoy being part of the experience. Everybody gets something after they ring the bell and my daughter loved handing out stickers to everyone.
"It's become a really cool tradition - one the whole organization has rallied around."
Gordon’s record at Martinsville give cause for optimism that the bells may ring again. In 40 starts there, he has seven wins, 25 Top-5 and 32 Top-10 finishes. He has been running at the finish in all 40 events, and the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has led 3,515 laps on the 0.526-mile oval. Cale Yarborough tops the All-Time Lap Leader list with 3,784; a difference of 269 laps. Gordon could eclipse that mark Sunday, having led 269 or more laps at Martinsville three times, including 29 circuits in last spring’s event.
Along with those seven wins, Gordon also has seven poles at Martinsville -- one off the track record held by Darrell Waltrip – and said a good qualifying lap is critical to success there.
"Qualifying well definitely helps, and getting that first pit stall is an advantage on pit road," said Gordon, currently 18th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. "During the race, though, it's all about 'rhythm.' You try to get into a rhythm quickly to just knock off consistent lap after consistent lap.
"But traffic - which you encounter a lot of here - can disrupt that quickly. When you're around other cars, you have to change your line and change what you're doing in order to make a pass. It's important to jump right back into that rhythm that you had."
If successful for 500 laps Sunday, the bells will be ringing at Hendrick Motorsports next Tuesday.


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