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Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001

Patience has paid for Gordon at Martinsville track

April 6, 2001

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Jeff Gordon has a lot to show for his patience at Martinsville Speedway.

The three-time Winston Cup champion has three victories and 12 straight top-10 finishes on the 0.526-mile oval. During the streak, he has led 1,019 of 5,856 laps and completed all but one lap.

"You're constantly in traffic," Gordon said. "You've got to be patient and remember that the race is 500 laps. An early mistake can ruin your day."

He'll get a chance to test his approach Sunday in the Virginia 500. To get ready, Gordon tested last week at the track.

"You have to take full advantage of your test dates," Gordon said. "The better we're prepared, the better our chance to win."

Gordon, second behind Dale Jarrett in the standings, won last month in Las Vegas and has five top-five finishes in seven races this season.

Schrader'S 500th: Ken Schrader will make his 500th Winston Cup start Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. He will become the 22nd driver to reach that milestone.

"Five hundred starts means I'm old," Schrader said. "It means I've been doing it a long time. To have been able to stay here, stay in one of these things, not get shuffled out and still poke your nose up around the front every now and then, it makes you feel good."

The 45-year-old driver from Fenton, Mo., has four victories in 17 years on NASCAR's top circuit.

Sharpie Signs On: Kurt Busch's No. 97 Ford will have a new look this weekend at Martinsville, with Newell Rubbermaid coming on board as the Roush Racing entry's primary sponsor.

Busch's cars will feature the company's Sharpie and Rubbermaid brands. Busch has two top-10 finishes in his first season of Winston Cup racing.

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