CHAMPIONSHIP STILL ON GORDON'S MIND HEADING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 13, 2005) - With 10 races to go in the season and no chance of winning the title, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont will focus on building momentum that could ultimately...
CHAMPIONSHIP STILL ON GORDON'S MIND HEADING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE
LOUDON, N.H. (Sept. 13, 2005) - With 10 races to go in the season and no chance of winning the title, Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont will focus on building momentum that could ultimately lead to a championship in 2006. They know it can be done. They faced a similar situation during the final 10 races of 2000, and celebrated as NASCAR Cup champions in New York the following year.
The four-time champion, who has been eliminated from the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup" entering this Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, is already looking to the future.
"I don't really care where we end up in the standings, we just need to get prepared for next year," said Gordon, who is 12th in the point standings. "We need to get things turned around so that we don't put ourselves in the same situation.
"This season has been disappointing, but I look forward to the challenge of getting things turned around and battling for wins the remainder of the season. We want to get some momentum on our side and carry it over to next year.
"We've been in this situation before and rebounded."
With 10 races to go in the 2000 season, the No. 24 DuPont team had no realistic shot at the championship. They responded with one win and nine top-10's to close out the year, and carried that momentum to their fourth championship the following season.
Even Dale Earnhardt, who captured seven championships, experienced the pendulum swings of points championships. After back-to-back titles in 1990 and 1991, he slipped to 12th in the standings in 1992. How did he respond? By winning his sixth and seventh championships the following two years.
"This is a very competitive sport, and things aren't going to go your way every year," Gordon said. "But we are capable of so much more, and we'll use these next 10 races to try to get back to that level."
In 21 starts at NHIS, Gordon has posted three wins, three poles, nine top-fives and 12 top- 10's. He has led the most laps on six occasions for a total of 1,067 -- 462 more than his closest competitor.
"New Hampshire has been a good track for us in the past," Gordon said. "We ran well here in July and were battling for a top-five finish before suffering brake problems late in the race.
"You can certainly look back at that race and say, 'what if.' But we've had a number of races this year where we could say that. We've also had some races where we just didn't perform.
"I want to be battling for a championship next year. Preparation for that begins this weekend."