Fontana II: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON AIMING FOR ONE BETTER IN CALIFORNIA FONTANA, Calif. (October 6, 2009) - Following a second-place finish here earlier this year, Jeff Gordon is looking to get one back in Sunday's Pepsi 500. Once considered the team's Achilles Heel,...

GORDON AIMING FOR ONE BETTER IN CALIFORNIA

FONTANA, Calif. (October 6, 2009) - Following a second-place finish here earlier this year, Jeff Gordon is looking to get one back in Sunday's Pepsi 500.

Once considered the team's Achilles Heel, Gordon and company have thrived on intermediate tracks like Auto Club Speedway over the past year. Since the 2008 "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" began, there have been 15 races on ovals 1.5 to two miles in length. During that span, Gordon has eight top-two finishes including his first win at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year, 14 top- 10 finishes and a 4.5 average finish. His lone finish outside the top 10 was a 14th-place finish in the rain-shortened Lowe's Motor Speedway event in May.

"We've improved a lot on these types of tracks since last year," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet Impala SS during the 500-mile event. "And we had a great run here earlier this year, but we feel like we let that one slip away.

"Hopefully, we can get that one back this weekend."

In that event, Gordon led 64 laps but trailed Matt Kenseth across the finish line following a late-race duel.

"It's going to take strong runs like that and like the finish we had at Kansas each and every weekend in the final seven races," said Gordon, who is seventh in the point standings and 103 behind leader Mark Martin. "There are six guys ahead of us right now, so it's highly unlikely that we'll make up a 100-point deficit and pass all those guys in one race.

"But there's still a lot of laps and races left to chip away."

While the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" contains 12 drivers vying for the championship, Gordon's focus is on only one.

"We can't control what the other guys do and where they finish," said the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, who has three wins, two poles and nine top-five finishes in 18 starts at Fontana. "We've got to focus on our team, our program and our finishes.

"The competition is as even as I've ever seen it, so we must make the most of our bad days. And we definitely need to take advantage of tracks where we should be good.

"Like this weekend at Fontana."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Mark Martin