AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 4, 2013) - Of all people to surprise, Jeff Gordon is hoping it's himself this Sunday in the Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).

Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

In February of 2011, Gordon scored his second victory at PIR and then ceremoniously began the reconfiguration/repavement project on the Arizona track. In the four races on the new layout and surface since, Gordon has had mixed success with two top-10 finishes and two finishes of 30th or worse.

"This is a track that has been on our radar - one that we need to perform better at," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Racing Chevrolet. "We were decent here earlier this year, but we need to step it up this weekend.

"I put this track in the same category as Kansas - not the kind of track we excel at because of a recent repave. But I hope we leave Phoenix similar to the way we left Kansas. We executed well at Kansas, we had a great car there and we had great strategy. "The performance surprised even me."

Each race on the 'new' track surface at PIR gives it some age.

"It seems like the groove has widened out the past couple races and that the pavement is aging," said Gordon, who has two wins (2007 and 2011), three poles, 10 top-fives and 20 top-10's in 29 starts at the one-mile track. "And the tires had some fall-off here earlier this year, so you could start searching the track for a different line that maybe helped your car. "Hopefully, we will continue to see the groove widen."

Last weekend at Texas, a tire issue led to a 38th-place finish for Gordon. He now sits sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings entering the penultimate race of the 2013 season.

"That was frustrating because I thought we had a great car there - especially on the long runs," said Gordon. "That finish definitely hurt our momentum. "But not this team's fight."

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