Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon fights for a spot in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 23, 2005) -- Throughout NASCAR's history, certain drivers have shown that they excel at certain tracks. Jeff Gordon (No.
Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon fights for a spot in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup"
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 23, 2005) -- Throughout NASCAR's history, certain drivers have shown that they excel at certain tracks.
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) is one of those drivers.
Bristol Motor Speedway is one of those tracks.
And with only three races remaining before the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup", Gordon needs his Bristol excellence like never before this Saturday night.
Entering this weekend's Sharpie 500, Gordon currently finds himself in an unfamiliar place -- outside the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10. He is in 12th place and 58 points behind 10th place Jamie McMurray (No. 42 Havoline/Texaco Dodge). The four-time series champion has finished in the top 10 in the point standings for 11 consecutive years, the longest current streak among active drivers.
Time is running out for Gordon to break into the top 10 and keep his streak alive. But with upcoming races at Bristol, California Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, Gordon cannot be counted out. In 60 career races at those tracks, Gordon has 10 victories, including five at Bristol.
"The season has gone in cycles," Gordon said. "Guys that ran really strong at the beginning of the year maybe haven't run as strong in the middle. There's no reason that cycle can't come to us as well, and I'm sure that there are teams out there that would prefer not to find out if that cycle comes our way."
Hot streaks are nothing new to Gordon. In 2003, he had two wins and six top-five finishes in a six-race stretch. Last year, Gordon put together a strikingly similar streak with three wins and six top-five finishes in another six-race stretch.
Gordon knows his team is far from out of it.
"You can't count us out," he said. "We could strike at any moment."
With only 175 points separating positions eight through 15, Gordon has as good a shot as anybody to make the "Chase." Mechanical problems and bad luck have stymied the No. 24 team throughout much of the season, but Bristol may be the place for significant rebound.
"Our performances haven't been as bad as our finishes," Gordon said. "We've had several races where we were completely off on our setup, but we've had numerous situations where we ran strong during the event but didn't have the good results to show for it."