Mar 28, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Jeff Gordon knows a thing or two about what it takes to win at Martinsville Speedway, seeing as he’s done so in Sprint Cup competition eight times over the course of his career.
Gordon’s most recent triumph at NASCAR’s oldest track came last fall in the Chase and as you’d figure, it’s given him confidence as the series returns to the paperclip this weekend for the STP 500.
His approach differs from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, another eight-time winner at Martinsville: Attack on the restarts, but then remain deliberate and show patience.
“You have to be aggressive on restarts and that is just in general to where we go these days,” he said before qualifying today. “There are some tracks that I feel I have done a good job with that and others that I haven’t. For me, this track is about finesse. This track is about patience. If it comes down to a late caution then I think yes, it comes down to aggressiveness but also what line you are in.
“You want to be in that inside line and if you are in that outside lane then you can be as aggressive as you want but it’s not going to do a whole lot for you to get down and into that inside lane.”
Gordon enters Martinsville after having his Top-10 streak to begin the year snapped at four races last weekend at Fontana.
He was in position to win the race late after teammate Jimmie Johnson suffered a tire failure while leading with seven laps left, but a caution came out with two laps to go after Clint Bowyer suffered his own failure and spun.
That sent the leaders to the pits, where Gordon lost track position after a four-tire stop. He fell back further when the race entered the green-white-checkered finish, and settled for 13th.
Afterwards, Gordon criticized Goodyear for not being prepared for the situation. During the week, he had a tire test at the Sonoma Raceway road course in California but he said today that he did not speak to the manufacturer about the Fontana matter.
“No, I’m too mad at them to have a discussion with them about that right now,” he admitted. “I went and did everything I could to put the best test together that I could there to learn what we could to go to Sonoma and win.
“Tires aren’t an issue there when it comes to that type of situation we had at Fontana. I did not discuss it with them.”
He then conceded that “we all play a role in it,” but noted that the teams’ aggressive setups was what it was going to take for them to win races.
“…If no tire test happens at [Fontana,] then I think that I would question why not,” he said.
Oct 31, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 4:32 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
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Oct 31, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT
Finnish driver has endured a difficult return to Maranello in 2014 after five years away.
Oct 31, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
Chase competitors Kevin Harvick and points leader Jeff Gordon crack the Top 5 speeds.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Can Lewis Hamilton double up in the second practice session in Austin? Join us from 3p ET to find out.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT
Kenseth says the only way he’d feel a little better about it is if Harvick manages to make the Championship Race.
Oct 31, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT
FIA confirms that the German driver has taken a sixth complete power unit, and will have to start the race from the pit lane at COTA.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
Ford drivers take the top three spots in opening Nationwide practice.
Oct 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Despite exceeding everyone’s expectations in 2014, Valtteri Bottas feels that the team can continue its upward trend next season.
Oct 31, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
Two-time US GP winner makes the best possible start to his race weekend by topping FP1 in Austin.
Oct 31, 2014, 12:14 PM EDT
Logano’s currently in position to advance to the final battle at Homestead, but he says he’ll stay aggressive this weekend at Texas.
Oct 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Red Bull takes you behind-the-scenes in the lead-up to this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Oct 31, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
Various updates coming to portions of the grid this weekend, starting in FP1.
Oct 31, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT
Mario Andretti takes time out of a busy schedule for fan Q&A for Circuit of the Americas.
Oct 31, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Adriana Henao is running to raise money for actor Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization and The Long Run to Haiti.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Watch first practice from COTA live on Live Extra from 11a ET today.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Former Sprint Cup veteran will bring his OneMain Financial sponsorship with him.
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