Skip to content

Martinsville a must-win situation for Jeff Gordon

Oct 25, 2013, 9:45 PM EDT

Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered By Kroger - Practice Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. IndyCar: Penske looks for fifth straight Sonoma win this weekend

    Aug 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Sonoma Pack - IndyCar AP

    Will Power and Team Penske have been dominant over the last several years at Sonoma, and if they are again, the IndyCar championship could be put out of reach.

  2. Conway looks to sign off his 2014 IndyCar campaign with third win in Sonoma

    Aug 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    ConwayLB2 AP

    If Mike Conway wins Sonoma this weekend, he’ll have his third win of 2014, and tie Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay with the most in the IndyCar field.

  3. Indy Lights: Ryan Phinny, Casamigos switch to Belardi for Sonoma

    Aug 20, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Indy Lights Photo: Indy Lights

    Gabby Chaves to get new teammate in form of Ryan Phinny for Sonoma, at Indy Lights weekend finale.

  4. NBA legend Dominique Wilkins made it to Milwaukee last weekend with Kimball’s crew

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    KimballMKE Getty Images

    NBA legend Dominique Wilkins tours Charlie Kimball’s No. 83 team during the Milwaukee IndyCar weekend.

  5. Andre Lotterer confirmed for Caterham debut at Spa

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    LottererDebut Getty Images

    Le Mans champion Andre Lotterer confirmed for surprise Formula One debut with Caterham at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

  6. NASCAR: Toyota working to find more horsepower for engines

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

    Pure Michigan 400 Getty Images

    Last year, reliability was the problem for Toyota’s engines, not power. This year, the situation has been reversed, and Toyota Racing Development’s president says they’re hunting for more performance ahead of the Chase.

  7. NASCAR AMERICA: Crew chief Gustafson key to Jeff Gordon’s renaissance (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 8:07 PM EDT

    Sprint All-Star Race - Practice Getty Images

    Alan Gustafson may not be as well-known as other crew chiefs, but it’s clear that he’s played a big role in Jeff Gordon’s success this season. The NASCAR AMERICA crew breaks down what’s made them such a good pair together.

  8. NASCAR AMERICA: New home, new sponsor for Edwards and Suarez (VIDEO)

    Aug 19, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

    Daniel Suarez AP

    NASCAR AMERICA talks about Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez’s move to Joe Gibbs Racing – and the impact of their new sponsor, telecommunications equipment company ARRIS.

  9. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA follows JGR’s big day at 6:30 p.m. ET

    Aug 19, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Daniel Suarez, Carl Edwards AP

    Coming up today: Reaction from 2015 JGR drivers Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez, and current JGR Cup drivers Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch; No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson on the team’s win at Michigan; the Michigan edition of “Scan All 43.”

  10. NASCAR: Truck Series preparing for Bristol on short week

    Aug 19, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    UNOH 200 Getty Images

    Four days after racing in Michigan, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series faces the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in Wednesday night’s UNOH 200.

  11. Red Bull GRC going long for Saturday’s race at Daytona

    Aug 19, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    GRCLogo

    This weekend, Red Bull GRC drivers will compete on a .924-mile layout at Daytona International Speedway that’s the longest they’ve faced so far this year. Catch Saturday’s final at 2:30 p.m. on NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  12. NASCAR: Joe Gibbs hopeful for eventual return of Tony Stewart

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT

    Bojangles' Southern 500 Getty Images

    Gibbs, who won two Sprint Cup titles with Stewart in 2002 and 2005, believes that his former driver has the courage to overcome his grief and eventually come back to racing.

  13. On to Beijing: Formula E completes pre-season testing

    Aug 19, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT

    GERMANY-AUTOMOBILE-ECONOMY-FAIR-IAA Getty Images

    e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi puts up a lap of 1 minute, 31.792 seconds to lead the final day of testing at the UK’s Donington Park.

  14. Sonoma flashback: Marco Andretti scores first IndyCar win in 2006

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT

    Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Getty Images

    Eight years ago, the son of Michael and grandson of Mario broke through on the Northern California circuit.

  15. The 2014 Milwaukee IndyFest weekend high on promise, with more positives than negatives

    Aug 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    MKEWrap AP

    A final report from MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno on how the Milwaukee IndyFest went off.

  16. NASCAR: Mexican rising star Daniel Suarez moving up to Nationwide

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Richmond International Raceway - Day 1 Getty Images

    After success in Mexico and in the U.S.-based NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Suarez will take on the Nationwide Series next season with Joe Gibbs Racing.

  17. NASCAR’s Chase Grid Live offers fans chance to get close to Chase Grid in Chicago

    Aug 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Geico 400 Getty Images

    NASCAR’s Chase Grid Live sweepstakes open until August 29; provides fans potential VIP trip ahead of Chicagoland Chase opener.

  18. Edwards joins a number of NASCAR drivers in leaving “home” for fresh challenge

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT

    EdwardsBiffle AP

    Carl Edwards was almost destined to move to Gibbs, and it’s time to see whether his new opportunity will yield as much success for him as other switches have for others.

  19. NASCAR’s worst-kept secret is official: Carl Edwards joins Joe Gibbs Racing from 2015

    Aug 19, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

    Camping World RV Sales 301 - Practice Getty Images

    Carl Edwards confirmed at Joe Gibbs Racing for 2015 and beyond.

  20. NASCAR AMERICA: Sprint Cup teams take part in critical test (VIDEO)

    Aug 18, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Pure Michigan 400 Getty Images

    10 Sprint Cup squads tested various configurations today at Michigan as NASCAR looked to nail down its rules package for the 2015 Cup season. Today on NASCAR AMERICA, NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan gave a full report on the proceedings.

Video from NASCAR America

Why Edwards switched to Joe Gibbs racing
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (1406)
  2. K. Harvick (1406)
  3. T. Stewart (1211)
  4. K. Busch (946)
  5. I. Vences (851)