A fifth at Dover would help in chase for Gordon's fifth title

24 Sep 2012
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He is not exactly "calling his shot," but Jeff Gordon is pretty confident ahead of Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

 

In June at the one-mile concrete track, Gordon started 14th and led 60 laps, but an unscheduled green-flag pit stop for a loose wheel ultimately led to a 13th-place finish.

 

"I am very optimistic based on our performance earlier this year," said the driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet.  "We were very fast, but we had an issue that kept us from getting a win - or at least kept us from getting a very strong finish.

 

"That certainly has me excited about our return trip this weekend."

 

 In 39 starts at the Delaware track, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has four wins, four poles, 14 top-fives and 21 top-10's. He has also led 2,291 laps on the "Monster Mile."

 

"We've been good at Dover at times," said Gordon. "It's been a while, though, since we've been as good as we were earlier this year.

 

"If we can back that up this weekend, this could be the best opportunity we've had in a long time here."

 

A strong performance in the Chase-opening event at Chicago ended with contact with the turn 1 wall, and Gordon was 47 points behind after one event. A pole at New Hampshire and a third-place run allowed him to cut into that lead by two. Gordon knows it will take consistently good results to chip away at the lead, and that plenty of races remain to do so.

 

"I have no doubt that we can get back into this," said Gordon. "We're a strong team with fast race cars, but we have to put a string of good results together. If we do that, then there is no telling how far we can move up in the point standings.

 

"There is still a long, long way to go. My crew chief Alan Gustafson reminded us last weekend that nine races remained - and that equated to one quarter of our season."

 

Now, eight remain. Is eight enough? Gordon hopes so.

 

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