Daytona 500 2012 Preview: Jeff Gordon Looks To Avenge Disappointing 2011 Daytona Showing

DAYTONA BEACH FL - FEBRUARY 20: Jeff Gordon pits the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20 2011 in Daytona Beach Florida. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Vallejo-born Jeff Gordon returns to the track in 2012 looking to return to victory lane at the Daytona 500. For more on the Great American Race, check out SB Nation NASCAR's Dayton 500 stream, as well as NASCAR Ranting & Raving.

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is back this weekend as qualifying gets going for the 2012 Daytona 500. After Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout, the drivers will hit the track to qualify for the February 26 Daytona 500 on FOX. A year after rookie Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win at Daytona, the big names are back looking to bounce back from struggles a year ago.

Vallejo-born Jeff Gordon struggled to a 28th place finish after a Lap 29 accident dropped him 30+ laps behind. Gordon started the race in the number two position behind Dale Earnhardt, Jr., but he was never able to take advantage of the strong start. He bounced back with a solid enough Sprint Cup season, finishing in ninth place. He made the final sprint over the final races, but he never was able to climb back into things to open up a chance at winning the Sprint Cup series.

After practicing Friday and early Saturday on the track, Gordon will be one of 25 drivers taking part in this Saturday's Bud Shootout. The race is more or less a glorified preseason All Star contest, with a host of big names taking part this year. We'll be back with results from Saturday's Shootout and Sunday's Daytona 500 qualifying as Jeff Gordon looks to get in position to claim his fourth Daytona 500.

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