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Gordon comments on 2015 schedule changes

August 26, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

Gordon comments on 2015 schedule changes
Four-time Cup champion views Darlington as Southern 500 no matter the time

MORE: Darlington moves to Labor Day weekend | Official NASCAR release on 2015 schedule
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Jeff Gordon hadn't had a lot of time to digest the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule before he met with members of the media Tuesday at Martinsville Speedway. 

But the four-time champion and current points leader did say what he saw "looks interesting." 

NASCAR unveiled next year's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedules Tuesday at 5 p.m. Gordon and teammates Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne were wrapping up the first day of a two-day test at Martinsville when the announcement was made.

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Headlining the moves for the Sprint Cup Series are changes for events at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway. Atlanta's Sprint Cup race had been held on the Labor Day weekend since 2009. Next season, it moves to March 1, one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. 

Bristol's spring race will be run in April instead of March while Darlington, which hosted the annual Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend from 1950 through 2003 before moving to a May date, moves back to the first weekend in September. 

"The fact that we still get to go to Darlington, that's what matters the most to me," Gordon, a five-time Southern 500 winner, said. "As well as what the fans are going to get to enjoy and what works for them, to come out and enjoy such an awesome race track with so much history.

"It's always the Southern 500 to me. If I went to Darlington four times a year, I'd say 'it's the Southern 500.' That's just the way I look at Darlington.

"Bristol is an important race, a huge fan base there. You don't want weather to deter fans that want to go to Bristol. I think that's a good one. 

"Atlanta, being the second race of the year ... I like going to Atlanta anytime of the year as well, as long as it doesn't snow like it did that one year then I think that's a great choice to have second."

For 2015, Sprint Cup teams will run a "western" swing, with consecutive stops at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway in March. 

The move could cut out at least one cross-country trip for teams.

"I like the western swing and how they have a bigger track, short track, bigger track so if the teams, and I haven't talked to the team about how they would possibly coordinate that, but it is possible to make sort of a western hub and bring some equipment from the shop so you don't have to go back and forth which could be a big help," Gordon said.

Las Vegas is a 1.5-mile track, Phoenix measures one mile and Auto Club is a 2-mile layout.

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