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 working to reduce hand/wrist injuries among drivers

    Jul 28, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Firestone 600 - Practice Getty Images

    Among the possible options: A new steering damper, a thumb/wrist brace adapted from motocross, and energy-absorbing material for steering wheels.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: Monday Round-Up (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Jeff Gordon reflects on fifth Brickyard victory; Joe Gibbs Racing starting to peak; the impact of Carl Edwards’ exit from Roush Fenway Racing.

  3. Everything you need to know for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    HarvickPocono1 Getty Images

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind as the Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit to Pocono.

  4. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA recaps Brickyard at 5 p.m. ET

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    Coming up today: Highlights from Jeff Gordon’s fifth win at Indy; Carl Edwards on his upcoming exit from Roush Fenway Racing; Kasey Kahne’s missed opportunity.

  5. NASCAR AMERICA Minute: The legacy of Jeff Gordon (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 - Practice Getty Images

    The NASCAR AMERICA crew talks about Gordon’s history of success at Indianapolis and throughout his NASCAR career.

  6. Petty, Childress, JTG, Furniture Row teams testing at Watkins Glen

    Jul 28, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 at The Glen Getty Images

    Chase hopefuls target the Glen’s road course event on Aug. 10 as a chance to get into the post-season.

  7. Team planes for Stewart-Haas, JGR collide at North Carolina airport

    Jul 28, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Credit: @Jesse_Sanders_ Credit: @Jesse_Sanders_

    No one was injured Sunday night when a Joe Gibbs Racing plane clipped a parked Stewart-Haas Racing plane while returning home from the Brickyard 400.

  8. Team Penske trio has mixed fortunes in Brickyard 400

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 Getty Images

    Joey Logano finishes fifth, while Brad Keselowski (12th) and IndyCar’s Juan Pablo Montoya (23rd) falter after starting toward the front of the grid.

  9. IndyCar: Winning’s been a curse, not a blessing, over last six races

    Jul 28, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    TORTrafficJam Getty Images

    The winners of the last six IndyCar races haven’t had much in the way of results in subsequent races.

  10. Jeff Gordon talks Brickyard 400 victory on The Dan Patrick Show (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 Getty Images

    The five-time Brickyard winner discusses his big win and other topics, including whether he’d allow his young daughter to become a NASCAR driver.

  11. IMSA: Indianapolis thoughts and observations

    Jul 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    IMSAatIMS Getty Images

    Two drivers from the 1995 Indianapolis 500 finish 1-2 in the 2014 Brickyard Grand Prix, while the race features a star turn from somebody born in 1995…

  12. Sauber close, but no cigar in terms of first 2014 points in Hungary

    Jul 28, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    SutilHUN Getty Images

    Both Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez run top-10 in Hungary, and both fail to get Sauber on the scoreboard.

  13. NHRA: Courtney Force becomes winningest female in Funny Car with Sonoma win

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT

    ForcesSonoma AP

    Courtney Force beats father John in final for record-setting NHRA Funny Car win in Sonoma.

  14. No one deserved to lose the 2014 Hungarian GP

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    HUNPodium AP

    Despite the facial expressions of those second and third to Daniel Ricciardo on Sunday, each of the top three would have deserved the Hungarian GP win.

  15. Clint Bowyer fails to realize IndyCar doesn’t have push-to-pass on ovals

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    BowyerIndy Getty Images

    IndyCars have push-to-pass, but not on ovals. It’s all good, Clint.

  16. Hulkenberg apologizes after hitting teammate

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Nico Hulkenberg AP

    German driver retires for the first time in 2014 after hitting Sergio Perez during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

  17. NASCAR: Is Edwards a lame duck or could he still bag 2014 title?

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    EdwardsRoush AP

    The mindset of Carl Edwards and the No. 99 team will be key down the stretch, knowing they’re heading their separate ways at the end of the year.

  18. Kimi Raikkonen confident of improvements at Ferrari

    Jul 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Finn underlines his belief in the team to turn things around in 2014.

  19. McLaren gamble backfires for Button and Magnussen

    Jul 28, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Decision to fit wet weather tires in anticipation of more rain scuppers hopes of big points in Hungary.

  20. Gordon’s Brickyard legacy superb, but can’t be compared to other Indy legends

    Jul 27, 2014, 7:52 PM EDT

    Jeff Gordon AP

    A world of differences make it impossible to weigh Jeff Gordon’s accomplishments at Indy against those of A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Al Unser Sr., and Michael Schumacher.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Jeff Gordon's historic Brickyard 400 win

Featured video

Inside the Hungarian GP
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches