GORDON 'FIRED UP' HEADING INTO 'CHASE' LOUDON, N.H. (September 15, 2009) - Trailing now by only 30 points, Jeff Gordon still has some ground to make up entering Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But he knows the No. 24 team...
GORDON 'FIRED UP' HEADING INTO 'CHASE'
LOUDON, N.H. (September 15, 2009) - Trailing now by only 30 points, Jeff Gordon still has some ground to make up entering Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. But he knows the No. 24 team is capable and ready to battle for the 2009 championship.
"I'm sure all 12 drivers and teams in the 'Chase' believe they have a great shot to win the title this year," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet this weekend. "We're all separated by 40 points and a lot can happen in 10 races. A lot can happen in one race.
"I'm really fired up and pumped up because I think this No. 24 team is really well prepared for the final 10 races. We're still down a few points, but I'm confident we can battle for race wins and the championship during the 'Chase.'"
Gordon has fared well at the track that hosts the first race of the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup." In 29 starts at the 1.058-mile track, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has collected three wins, three poles, 13 top- fives and 16 top-10's. Earlier this year, Gordon led 64 laps en route to a second- place finish in the rain-shortened event. But multi-car accidents during double-file restarts sidelined several contenders from that race, and Gordon believes those restarts could be a factor during the 10-race playoff.
"I think double-file restarts will play a big role in this year's 'Chase,' and this weekend's race may be the most crucial," said the 82-time winner. "Double- file restarts have changed the sport for the good, but it's definitely made it more challenging.
"There is a greater potential for bumping, crashes and cautions, but you can gain or lose a lot of positions during the restarts as well. And a lot of that can be out of your hands if you're not leading.
"The line the leader chooses usually 'moves' quicker on a restart. You may want to be in the outside lane because that is where your car handles the best. But if the leader chooses the inside lane, you can lose a lot of positions quickly - even in your 'preferred' line."
While Gordon will enter each of the remaining races with the same mindset each weekend, the ultimate goal is to win the championship.
"We go into every race trying to win," said Gordon. "It doesn't always turn out that well, but that's what we're trying to do each and every weekend.
"If a win is not possible, then secure the best finish possible. And I don't mind going winless these final 10 races if it means we're celebrating as champions in Miami."