Martinsville II: Jeff Gordon preview

DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon and the No. 24 Chevrolet team enter the sixth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranked fourth in the standings -- 156 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. This season, Gordon has scored 11 top-five...

DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon and the No. 24 Chevrolet team enter the sixth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranked fourth in the standings -- 156 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. This season, Gordon has scored 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and has led 862 laps.

MARTINSVILLE CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-616 for Sunday's race at Martinsville. The No. 24 team tested the car at The Milwaukee (Wis.) Mile in August and at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway last week. Most recently, Gordon drove it to a sixth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September.

ALL-TIMER: Gordon ranks sixth on the all-time career Cup wins list with 82 and now ties Cale Yarborough for third in all-time career Cup poles after scoring his 69th last weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The NASCAR veteran is only one victory away from tying Yarborough, who ranks fifth, on the all-time career Cup wins list.

START YOUR ENGINES: Car chief Jason Burdett will be one of 43 Sprint Cup crew members to give the starting command on Sunday. Burdett, a native of Arkport, N.Y., spent his early seasons in NASCAR changing tires and handling catch-can duties for several drivers until taking over the car chief position on the No. 24 Chevrolet.

JEFF GORDON, DRIVER, NO. 24 DUPONT/HONORING NATIONAL GUARD FAMILIES CHEVROLET (ON HONORING NATIONAL GUARD FAMILIES ON THE CAR AT MARTINSVILLE.): "Our National Guard Soldiers sacrifice so much to defend our country's freedom, and this wouldn't be possible without the support of their families. That's why it's important we recognize the family members for being a constant source of encouragement. Martinsville is always a strong track for the DuPont/National Guard team so we look to keep the car up front and show our appreciation for the family members of our heroic National Guard Soldiers."

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT/HONORING NATIONAL GUARD FAMILIES CHEVROLET (ON MARTINSVILLE.): "We just tested at Rockingham Speedway's short track to prepare for Martinsville. Martinsville has always been a very strong track for us. The biggest point we're trying to make is just don't assume it's going to be a strong track. Normally you always kind of play to your weaknesses, and we want to make it a point in the Chase to not only work on our weaknesses, but we want to go out of our way to put an effort on what we feel our stronger tracks will be as well to see if we can gain an advantage. The disadvantage of Martinsville is, while it's a good track for Jeff (Gordon,) it's also a good track for Jimmie (Johnson,) Tony (Stewart,) the No. 11 and the No. 29 car, which are the guys we're racing against in the points. I look at Martinsville in a different way. It's not that you have to go there and run well; it's that you cannot go there and run bad because someone that you're racing against in the points is probably going to win that race."

LETARTE (ON THE TEAM'S STRATEGY FOR THE CHASE.): "In my opinion with the Chase, especially with the No. 24 car, what we've tried to do in the first couple races is not lose the championship. I feel like we've done a pretty good job with that. I feel that we kind of let some points get away at Dover (Del.). I thought we were covered well at California. But at some point not losing it isn't going to be good enough. You're going to have to go win it. The way I look at it is 12 guys are in the Chase, eight of them are going to lose it, three of them are going to contend and someone's going to win it. And I think we've done a good job so far as keeping ourselves in that contend category but we have to prove that we can win it by either winning a race or having a string of top-twos or threes or some sort of exclamation point on our Chase. It's up to us to do that. We can't sit back and expect the competition to give us the trophy."

LETARTE (ON GORDON BEING CONSIDERED ONE OF THE BEST AT MARTINSVILLE.): "That's the biggest thing. When you look at Jeff Gordon, while he has a very amazing resume there, no one ever looks at the dates. And sometimes people say 'Oh he's won at Martinsville seven times, he's a shoo-in.' Well, we haven't won there since 2005, and that's six years ago. When you look at it that way -- while we have run very well, and we've led a lot of laps -- that's still a long time without a win there. I would not say we are the favorite. Jimmie and Denny (Hamlin) have recently won a lot there. I think we have to go prove that we still are a favorite there, and we are going to have to outrun those title contenders."

-source: hendrick motorsports

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Cale Yarborough