Oct 25, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT
Jeff Gordon‘s drive toward a fifth Sprint Cup championship has hit some bumps in the road over the last couple of weeks.
Two weekends ago at Charlotte, Gordon finished a respectable seventh after starting from the pole. Unfortunately for him, all four of his main rivals in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick – finished better than he did.
Then last Sunday at Talladega, Gordon finished 14th but had Busch, Harvick and Johnson beat him to the stripe (Kenseth finished 20th and lost his points lead to Johnson).
He’s been able to avoid calamity this post-season and that’s made him one of the legitimate contenders still standing with four races to go. But he has to overcome a sizable, 34-point gap to his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson.
With that in mind, Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway shapes up as a must-win situation for Gordon, who has not taken a checkered flag this season. But he certainly knows how to emerge victorious at the Virginia short track, with seven wins there in his Sprint Cup career.
Granted, he hasn’t won at Martinsville since 2005. But even so, he’s still been an almost constant presence at the front with 12 Top-5s and 13 Top-10s in his last 15 races there. He has been every bit a force as Johnson, himself an eight-time M’Ville winner (tops among all active Cup drivers).
Naturally, that body of work has him and his No. 24 team feeling confident.
“We come in here feeling really good about this race track and our race team,” Gordon said today before qualifying ninth for Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger.
“We have had a lot of positive things that have happened to us over the last six weeks. Then to come with a good feeling about where we are at as a race team and our race cars and come into one of my favorite race tracks – a track that we have had good results at, not only in the past, but this year – it definitely is something that we come into very excited about.”
But with time running out and the competition stiff as ever, Gordon can’t settle for a Top-10. Heck, a Top-5 might not be enough unless the ones he’s chasing for the title run into trouble.
To keep his championship hopes alive, he has to get the No. 24 to P1 after 500 laps on Sunday.
Sep 5, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Vettel will start his first Italian Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver from third place.
Sep 5, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
Raikkonen will start tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix from second place on the grid, marking his first front row start in over two years.
Sep 5, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT
With Gene Haas in Monza this weekend, Alexander Rossi did his chances of securing an F1 seat in 2015 a world of good by winning his second consecutive race.
Sep 5, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT
After Rosberg was forced to switch back to his old power unit at Monza due to a problem, Hamilton has no fears about a similar issue occurring on his.
Sep 5, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Will Buxton and Jason Swales head to Silverstone to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the British Grand Prix in the latest episode of Off The Grid.
Sep 5, 2015, 9:04 AM EDT
Engine trouble for Rosberg allows Hamilton to go unchallenged en route to his 11th pole position of the 2015 season.
Sep 5, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT
Lewis Hamilton goes in search of his 11th pole position of the 2015 season at Monza on Saturday.
Sep 5, 2015, 6:07 AM EDT
Hamilton leads the way from Vettel and Rosberg in final practice at Monza.
Sep 5, 2015, 4:45 AM EDT
Lewis Hamilton bids to complete a clean sweep of practice sessions on Saturday morning at Monza.
Sep 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
Gasly storms to pole ahead of Mitch Evans and Stoffel Vandoorne as American driver Alexander Rossi struggles to P10 on the grid.
Sep 4, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
Ecclestone backs Vettel to win a fifth world championship during his time with Ferrari.
Sep 4, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
After being the enemy for the Ferrari fans in the past at Monza, Vettel will now carry their hopes of a home win on his shoulders.
Sep 4, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
Despite finishing well clear of the chasing pack on Friday in practice, Hamilton believes he can go faster still.
Sep 4, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button among those running with a sticker paying tribute to Wilson on their helmets at Monza.
Sep 4, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
IndyCar’s season recap airs tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Sep 4, 2015, 10:59 AM EDT
Will Buxton brings you the latest news, interviews and insight from the paddock ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Sep 4, 2015, 10:26 AM EDT
F1 drivers react to idea of closed cockpits possibly being introduced down the road.
Sep 4, 2015, 9:58 AM EDT
First round of funeral details for Justin Wilson have been confirmed.
Sep 4, 2015, 9:31 AM EDT
Mercedes romps to another one-two finish in FP2 as the rest of the field is left trailing behind.
- Off The Grid: Silverstone preview (premieres 9/6 on NBCSN) 0
- Hamilton eases to Italian GP pole at Monza 0
- Hamilton completes practice clean sweep at Monza 0
- F1 Paddock Pass: Italian Grand Prix (VIDEO) 0
- Hamilton quickest again in second Italian GP practice 2
- Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in Italian GP FP1 1
- NHRA: All you need to know about the 61st U.S. Nationals 1