FORMAT GIVES GORDON TITLE HOPES ENTERING NHMS LOUDON, N.H. (September 9, 2008) - Jeff Gordon has not been this close to the points lead since, well, the beginning of the 2008 season. While it's been a "less-than- stellar" season for the...
FORMAT GIVES GORDON TITLE HOPES ENTERING NHMS
LOUDON, N.H. (September 9, 2008) - Jeff Gordon has not been this close to the points lead since, well, the beginning of the 2008 season. While it's been a "less-than- stellar" season for the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Gordon is aware that anything is possible in the final 10 races - and that the No. 24 DuPont team has the ability to surprise.
In 2007, Gordon lost a commanding lead when the points were reset following race No. 26. In the final 10 races, he posted two wins, nine top-10's and a 5.1 average finish - yet still fell short of that elusive fifth championship. Despite that, Gordon is still a fan of the format.
"This format is exciting for the fans, and it's exciting for the competitors," Gordon said in advance of this Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). "And while I 'could have, should have' won more championships if we were still using the season-long format, I think this one is better for our sport.
"But I do think it's tougher to win. Instead of the two or three or four guys racing for the championship at this point in the season, we now have 12 guys that could win it and anything can happen.
"I've had big leads before wiped away when the Chase started, and we're on the flipside now. We were 681 points out of the lead before Richmond, and now it's down to 80. While it has not been a stellar year for us so far, that could change in the final 10 races. We just need to give it our best effort every single weekend and hope that we surprise them in the Chase."
A good start would aid his cause, and Gordon has experienced success at NHMS. In 27 starts at the 1.058-mile track, he has three wins, three poles, 12 top-fives and 15 top-10's. He has led the most laps on six occasions for a total of 1,141. In his last four events here, Gordon has three top-three finishes with a worst finish of 11th, which occurred here in June. During that rain-shortened event, he was running fourth late in the race before a pit stop for fuel - and Mother Nature - ended his hopes of collecting another top-five finish.
"This is a good track for us, and it has been for many, many years," said Gordon. "I feel confident that we can usually come here without our 'A' game and still have a top-five car.
"Last year, we started off the Chase well with a second-place finish, and I hope we do as well this year."
With their 'A' game, Team DuPont could be battling for the win - and a championship.