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September News


Indian Summer
AAA 400 - Dover Speedway. Finish: 2nd

Recap
Jeff Gordon's late summer/early fall streak continued as he posted his fifth top-3 finish in the last six races with a runner-up finish in the AAA 400 at Dover Speedway. Gordon ran in the top-10 for the balance of the day, but relied on a splash of gas during the last caution period to make it to the finish. By doing so, he improved his finishing position by at least 5 spots. He moved up to 10th in the points standings, but trails leader (and Dover winner) Brad Keselowski by 48 points.

Gordon started 7th and moved into the top-5 within 10 laps. His forward march continued as he took 4th on lap 15, but was unable to make further headway before a debris caution on lap 70. Gordon dropped a spot on pit stops and restarted in 5th place on lap 78. He took 4th from Clint Bowyer after the 100-lap mark but ran distantly behind the top-3 of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Jimmie Johnson. Gordon stayed out to lead a lap during a cycle of green flag pit stops on lap 148. A debris caution on lap 178 brought the leaders to pit road. Brad Keselowski tracked down Gordon and dropped him to 5th on lap 214. Another debris caution brought the leaders to pit road on lap 247. Gordon held the 5th spot through the pit stop sequence. On the restart, Gordon fell to 7th after Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards went by.

With just over 100 laps to go, Gordon passed Edwards. A caution with 90 laps to go for Matt Kenseth's suspension issues brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon gained a position on pit road and restarted in 5th place. He lost a spot to Bowyer before Kenseth brought out another caution after a spin in turn 4. Gordon came to pit road to top off the fuel tank. He restarted in 7th place with 78 laps to go. As the laps wound down, Gordon took 6th from Bowyer and moved back into the top-5 with a pass on Kasey Kahne with 48 to go. After Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin pitted for fuel, Gordon moved to 3rd. He took 2nd from Jimmie Johnson with 6 laps to go while the #48 was trying to conserve fuel to the finish.

Turning point
Gordon topped off on fuel during the last caution and was able to make it to the finish -- salvaging a better finish than his car was during the event.

JG's commments
"We struggled a little bit on the shorter runs, but when we got going the car was a good top-3 or top-4 car. I'm proud of this team. We're just taking a few steps in the points every week. We've got 7 more weeks to get it done... "We're not going to win this championship against those guys up front if they keep running where they're running. Our focus is top-5's, try to win and if we keep running like this, we'll get wins. We can't control what others guys do."

"Today was a good day; a solid day. The car was good. We were better on the long runs than we were on the short runs. We just couldn't get going on the restarts. The front tires would just not work. I don't know; maybe the splitter was hitting or something. So we had issues with that. We were trying to resolve those and it actually worked to our favor because we had to come in and top-off and make a couple of adjustments and then we didn't have to save fuel there at the end and the car was really good. I thought me and Mark Martin were going to battle it out for the win. He was chasing me down there and those other guys were saving fuel; all but the No. 2 (Keselowski) car and we just came up a little bit short. All in all, it was a great day."

AS YOU WERE CHASING DOWN BRAD KESELOWSKI THERE AT THE END, DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO GET HIM?
"The car was really working well through the middle part of that run. The race kind of fell in our lap. We fell back on our restart and had some issues just getting going and then that caution came out and we decided to top-off, so it kind of played to our favor, where we didn't have to save fuel. The car was just really good on that run. But right there with about 15 (laps) to go, I started getting really, really tight. So I saw I was catching those guys, I was just hoping that they were going to have to save fuel. And everybody did but the No. 2. We knew coming into the Chase that the fuel mileage would be a factor and we've known that weíve been behind on that. The No. 2 car, they've got something figured out on fuel mileage. Credit to them. They've done their homework and it's gotten them some wins and it got them one today. But it was a great run for this team."


Three's Company
SYLVANIA 300 - New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Finish: 3rd

Recap
It wasn't a victory for Jeff Gordon, but a solid 3rd place effort in the Sylvania 300 kept him from falling further behind in the NASCAR standings. It was Gordon's fourth top-3 finish in the last 5 races. Gordon entered the event trailing by 47 points, and is now 45 points behind. Unfortunately, there are 11 drivers to overcome.

Gordon started on the pole and led the first 3 laps until Tony Stewart took the top spot. Kyle Busch moved past Gordon on lap 11. He held the 3rd spot until the competition caution on lap 40. Gordon re-assumed the lead following pit stops as he accelerated from the first pit stall. Busch took the lead from Gordon just one lap after the restart. He dropped to 3rd on lap 70 after Kasey Kahne passed, and fell to 4th when Denny Hamlin went by on lap 76. He came to pit road for a green flag stop on lap 109 and held 4th place through the cycle of stops. A debris caution on lap 129 slowed the field and brought most of the leaders to pit road. Gordon restarted in 11th and moved into the top-10 on lap 135. At the halfway point of the event, Gordon moved to 8th but was complaining of a lack of rear grip in the car.

Gordon's forward progress continued as he passed Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to take 6th place on lap 175. A debris caution on lap 178 brought pit stops. Gordon held 6th place through the stops. As Hamlin pulled away with a comfortable lead, Gordon took 5th from Tony Stewart on lap 231. He took 4th from Brian Vickers with 60 to go. Gordon's final pit stop came under green with 53 to go. He cycled through in 5th after Brad Keselowski took 2 tires. After moving to 4th, the caution waved with 30 laps to go for debris. On the restart, Gordon jumped to the inside to take 3rd from Clint Bowyer.

Turning point
A debris caution with 30 laps to go gave Gordon the restart he needed to get past Clint Bowyer for his fourth top-3 finish in the last 5 races..

JG's comments
"It was a great performance. Certainly helped qualifying on the pole, getting that No. 1 pit stall. That was important. We had good pit stops, good pit calls and strategy and then good adjustments. We weren't very good at the start of the race, but we hung in there with our track position and then we made an adjustment about halfway through the race that wasn't very good for the short runs, but it seemed to maintain pretty good on the longer runs. So allowed us to get up there into fourth and then that restart, we were able to jump into third.

Q. Can you describe the swing of emotions here, coming out of Chicago, having endured a difficult time there, and then coming back here to New Hampshire; and now putting yourself in contention here, obviously coming out, doing what you needed to do.
"Yeah, today was crucial to have that kind of a finish and result. You know, it's just on one hand you look at it and say, man, we let a Top 5 get away from us. Last week we were running fourth when we had the problem; and then this week we come back and finish third. So, you know we are just going to fight from here on out and try to get some consistent finishes and win races and fight and battle. I mean, this team has gotten kind of used to this stuff all year long. We just have had everything thrown at us this year, and I think it's made us stronger and more prepared to handle these type of things, even when the pressure is on for the championship. So you know, allowed us to come in here, sit on the pole and finish third and have a good weekend and take that I don't know, wherever we are going next week

Q. You said yesterday, you need a bit of a miracle to close in on the Chase in the remaining nine races; does that change with the result today?
"We are going to have to win a lot and gain a lot and keep these top results like today going, and then like you said we are going to have to need some help. So we still this is the first step to process. I mean, this is definitely what we needed to do here today and it's great. And you know, we'll try to keep this going and hopefully we can win some races along the way, as well. But you know, it's still going to take a miracle for us to win the championship. I mean, you've got guys like Jimmie, Keselowski and Hamlin; I mean, these are guys that have been strong all year. You know, Jimmie's won five championships. These guys are not going to make huge mistakes. But we have to go and race every race. There's a lot of racing and a lot of different tracks that a lot can happen at. So this is step one and we'll go to the next one.

Q. Given the strengths of the guys you're against and given the fact that you say you need wins, is there any tinge of regret that you didn't win today or are you just happy.
"You're never happy with anything other than a win. You know I felt like we got the most out of it. I felt like we were about the fourth or fifth place car and we came home third. I felt like we did our job today and that's what you have to do. That's what good teams do: On the days that you're capable of winning, you'd better go win, and on the days that you're third, you'd better finish third or better. Today I felt like we were a fifth place car and we finished third. So job well done."

Q. You said I think on Friday that Denny was probably going to drive up through the field; that you figured just because he was starting 32nd was not going to be a huge hindrance to him. What's it like to have a car so dominant on Friday, and not mess it up by the time the race comes and throughout the race?
"Yeah, he gave us a little optimism on Friday qualifying that maybe they could mess it up for the race. I don't know, it's been a long time since I've had a car that dominant and won with it. I've kind of forgot what it's like, but I have had them and I've seen others have them. It's certainly an amazing feeling and it gives you a lot of confidence and allows you to make smart moves. You can still lose the race, but you know, certainly makes your day go a lot easier when your car is that strong. You don't have to take big risks. You can take your time coming up through there. Usually like Jimmie was saying, guys move out of your way when they see you're that fast, so it actually makes passing that much easier. He had, from where I could see, what I could see, he had it pretty easy today."

Q. What's it like when a team just is so consistently good, the way that the 48 has been for so many years. They find themselves in the points lead again in the Chase; how does the field react to that?
"I think it gives them a big advantage. Certainly it allows the competition to get down beat mentally as well as on the racetrack. That gives you an upper even another edge. These guys, they are just so strong, you don't expect them to make mistakes; when they are in this position, you expect them to be strong week in and week out and they are going to be tough to beat. They are just that good. The whole group, it's just everything clicks. They have had that from early on and it took them a few years to win a championship but I always knew, once they won one, watch out. That's how it's always been since they won their first championship. They just have so much confidence in what they are doing and the cars and the racetracks, and especially the ten in the Chase, it's a combination that is really difficult to beat. And so you know, after these first I mean, just the season that they have had the first two finishes, I think that just builds confidence and sends a message to the competitors that you're definitely going to have to deal with this team for the championship. We have seen others make a run at them, but when they are in this kind of zone, they have not been beat. You know, I think what the 11 did was pretty big today, but he's going to have to do that for eight more weeks."


Stumbling Blocks
GEICO 400 - Chicagoland Speedway. Finish: 35th

Recap
For the first half of the Geico 400, it looked as if Jeff Gordon was ready to make a loud statement as a contender for the 2012 Sprint Cup. He was running as high as 3rd place during the race. However, a stuck throttle on lap 188 sent him into the wall and clouded his title hopes going forward.

Gordon started 19th and moved up to 13th by lap 10. He entered the top-10 on lap 23 with a pass on Carl Edwards. He pitted under green on lap 46 and cycled through in 6th place due to a sub-12 second pit stop. He fell to 7th before a debris caution on lap 67. Gordon opted for two tires and departed in 5th place. He moved to 4th on lap 77, but fell back to 5th when Kyle Busch passed on lap 91. His slide back continued as Brad Keslowski and Mark Martin took spots from Gordon on lap 98. A debris caution on lap 100 brought the field to pit road. Gordon exited in 10th place after opting for four tires. He slipped back on the restart, but rallied back to 9th on lap 125. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 7th place.

Casey Mears' wall contact on lap 149 came in the middle of a green flag pit stop sequence. Gordon had yet to pit and moved up to 4th place. He came in under caution for tires and restarted in 4th. He dropped to 5th when Ryan Newman went by shortly after the restart, but re-took the spot from Newman on lap 167. However, on lap 188 Gordon slammed the turn 1 wall after the throttle stuck. He brought the DuPont Chevrolet to pit road with heavy right side damage and pulled into the garage. He was credited with a 35th place finish -- his worst effort since Darlington Raceway in May.

Turning point
A stuck throttle on lap 188 sent Gordon into the wall and ended his day. The incident puts him in a major hole in the Chase standings.

JG's comments
"I'm fine. We were having a good day. The guys did an awesome job in the pits and tuning on the car in the top-5. Who knows what we could have done with them at the end. But we had a throttle stick. It didn't stick wide open. I let off the throttle and it just didn't come all the way back. It was probably about half throttle which is still enough to do a lot of damage. We're looking at what could have caused that -- something in the return spring. In this (Chase), you can't afford to have issues like that."


Comeback For The Ages
FEDERATED AUTO 400 - Richmond Int'l Raceway. Finish: 2nd

Recap
After 150 laps at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, Jeff Gordon exited his car during the rain delay dejected at the performance of the #24 Chevrolet. Broadcasters and media pundits began shoveling dirt on his chances to qualify for the NASCAR Chase. But, there's a reason why the pundits hold a microphone (or laptop) instead of a steering wheel. When racing resumed, crew chief Alan Gustafson gave the four-time NASCAR champion a winning car. He drove through the field, got back on the lead lap, and finished 2nd in the race. Coupled with Kyle Busch's sub-par effort, Gordon gained the final Chase wildcard spot by a mere 2 points.

After rain showers pushed back the start of the race nearly 2 hours, Gordon started on the outside and the front row and moved to the lead on the backstretch. He quickly lost the top spot to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Clint Bowyer took 2nd from Gordon on lap 10. Denny Hamlin took 3rd from Gordon on lap 12. He slipped to 5th when Martin Truex passed on lap 18, and fell back to 6th when Jimmie Johnson went by one lap later. Gordon ran 7th at the competition caution on lap 46. Chassis adjustments followed on pit road and Gordon restarted in 16th place. David Ragan's spin brought out the caution on lap 52. Gordon fell back to 19th on lap 62, but regrouped back to 17th by lap 75. At the 90-lap mark, Gordon had advanced to the 16th position. However, he dropped to 18th after complaining of a brake issue by lap 100.

Gordon went a lap down on lap 128 when race leader Denny Hamlin went by. The caution waved on lap 135 for rain. Pit stops followed and the #24 team made chassis adjustments. Gordon returned to the event in 26th place, and remained a lap down. Rain became heavier and the race was red flagged for nearly an hour. The event resumed just before midnight eastern time. Gordon moved up to 21st by lap 175 and moved into the top-20 on lap 177. However, he was unable to gain ground in the hopes of becoming the first car one lap down. Green flag pit stops came on lap 220 with Gordon cycling through in 23rd place. A caution for Clint Bowyer's spin on lap 235 saved Gordon from going a second lap down. Following a stop, Gordon ran down and passed Carl Edwards for 17th place on lap 245, which put him in position for the free pass at the next caution. He got the needed caution on lap 275 for a brief rain shower to get back on the lead lap. Gordon changed tires and restarted in 17th place. With 100 laps to go, Gordon had advanced into the top-10. He moved to 9th three laps later, and took 8th place with 90 laps to go. With 80 to go, he had advanced into the top-5. Gordon moved to 4th with 70 to go and went by Kyle Busch who was lapped. He fell to 5th when Hamlin passed with 60 to go. He came to pit road for a green flag pit stop with 40 laps to go. He returned to the event in 11th place and moved up to 8th within 10 laps. With 25 to go, he was running 8th while Kyle Busch was holding onto 18th. With 20 to go, he took 5th from Brad Keselowski to pull into the final Chase wildcard spot. With 7 to go, Gordon took 2nd from Mark Martin.

Turning point
It was a tale of two races for Gordon -- before the rain delay and after the rain delay. After struggling with handling in the first 150 laps, the crew made large-scale adjustments to the suspension on the #24 car. Gordon's car came to life in the second half of the event, which punched his ticket into the Chase for the Championship.

JG's comments
"I'm so fired up to get this Chase started, I don't care where we're going to start in points. I went from last week being the most disappointed I've ever been to finish 2nd to the most excited I've ever been to finish 2nd. Alan is such a great crew chief. He never gave up, he kept me fired up. We made this car good enough to go up there. If we put that kind of effort like we put tonight, I don't see any reason why we can't be a real threat for the championship."

"What an exhausting race. So much pressure on us I thought that the weekend had gone so well for our team. When they dropped the green we got the lead and I knew that the drive off just wasnít there that we were in trouble. Man we started going backwards, but Alan Gustafson, what an awesome crew chief to make the calls that he and our engineers made to fix this car. Thank our teammates as well because they had good race cars gave us some good notes to go off of. We made some drastic changes and man did it bring the car to life. We were a lap down, we just never gave up. That is just an awesome effort. That is what the Chase and the Wild Card is all about right there. You want it to come down to the final laps at Richmond. I have been predicting this for weeks that it is going to come down to it, I just didn't know if we were going to be able to pull it off. Thanks to all the fans for supporting us through all of this frustration that we have been through this year, now let's go win us this championship. After that effort we can definitely do this thing."


Bitter Finish
ADVOCARE 500 - Atlanta Motor Speedway. Finish: 2nd

Recap
As Jeff Gordon pulled closer to Denny Hamlin on the final lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he opted for the high line in turn 3. Hamlin held low and finished ahead of Gordon for his second consecutive victory. Gordon, needing a win to qualify for the NASCAR Chase, lamented the lost opportunity. "I guess I'm getting soft in my old age," Gordon said. "I'm too nice. Fifteen years ago, I would've moved him up the racetrack."

Gordon started 5th and moved up to 3rd by the end of lap 5. He took 2nd from Greg Biffle on lap 7 and moved past Tony Stewart for the race lead on lap 9. Kyle Busch passed Gordon on lap 16 to take the top spot. Denny Hamlin went by on lap 18 as Gordon battled a loose handling condition. The first caution waved on lap 40 for Aric Almirola. Pit stops followed with Gordon departing in 7th place. He moved back into the top-5 by lap 50, but was unable to make further headway. He came to pit road on lap 84 for a green flag pit stop. A debris caution slowed the field on lap 130. Gordon lost a spot on pit road and restarted in 6th place. However, Gordon was forced to back off due to traffic and fell to 14th on lap 140. He regrouped and moved back up to 12th by lap 150. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 158 with a pass on Ryan Newman.

After falling to 14th following a green flag pit stop sequence, Gordon worked his way back to the top-10 on lap 190. With 100 laps to go, Gordon was in 8th and battling a loose handling car. A caution with 83 laps to go for Juan Pablo Montoya's wall contact brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon departed pit road in 11th place. He took 10th from Sam Hornish with 73 laps to go, and moved up to 8th three laps later. A caution for Carl Edwards' engine with 68 laps to go brought the leaders to pit road. Gordon exited pit road in 7th and was running ahead of a crash on the backstretch. Jimmie Johnson was turned sideways and collected Ryan Newman with 58 laps to go. Gordon came to pit road for tires and restarted in 8th place. He quickly moved into the top-5 and took 4th from Kyle Busch with 42 laps to go.

Gordon moved to 3rd with 40 laps to go with a pass on Brad Keselowski. Six laps later he took the runner-up spot from Denny Hamlin. He began closing on Martin Truex as the laps wound down. Jamie McMurray's wall contact with 4 laps to go brought out the caution. Pit stops followed with Gordon losing a position going from 2nd to 3rd for the green/white/checkered restart. Gordon moved up to 2nd and tried the high line to get around Hamlin entering turn 3. Hamlin held the bottom line and went on to score the victory.

Barring a victory by a wildcard contender at Richmond, Gordon will need to finish 13 spots ahead of Kyle Busch to claim the final spot in the NASCAR Chase.

Turning point
Gordon was running 2nd in the closing stages when a caution for Jamie McMurray's wall contact brought the caution. Gordon came to pit road and departed in 3rd place, setting up the dramatic final lap to the finish.

JG's comments
"We were pretty good on the short runs and the long runs are what hurt us. I got everything I could ask for. I got the restart I wanted, got to the outside and was just too tight and Denny (Hamlin) was good there but he made a mistake off of two and I got a run on him and made a bad decision. All night I was able to get to the other guy's quarter panel and get to the outside and stay there. I should have just run into the back of him going into three and move him up the race track and we would have been sitting in victory lane right now and counting another win. This Chase is too important for me to be in it and not to make a move like that. I wouldn't have wanted to wreck him but I would have liked to have that one over again. Still a great effort by the team and I mean there were times tonight when we were 11th or 12th so just to have a shot to win, I am thankful for that, but I wish we could do it again."

"What a battle. You know going into this race that itís going to be a fight. You know, the track is just so slick, and your car has a lot of grip for about five laps and then all of a sudden it just starts going sideways. We just never could get my car tight enough. On the short runs we were really fast, which worked to our favor here to get that second place and almost that win. Iím just mad at myself right now. I donít know, I guess I'm just getting soft in my old age. I'm too nice because, I donít know, 15 years ago I would have just moved him right up the racetrack. I don't know why I didn't do that. I thought I could get to his quarter panel and slow him down and stay there. But I got there, I just carried too much speed into 3 and it pushed up the racetrack. I'm so proud of how hard this team has fought through this whole season. We know how bad we need that win, so it's pretty disappointing to come up short like that.

Q. Jeff, I guess youíre kind of intimating maybe next week it's boys have at it rules in terms of you and the handful of other guys trying to qualify?
JEFF GORDON: Absolutely. That race is always intense. I've been a part of it where Iíve either been trying to get in like this or trying to stay in the Chase. There's so much on the line, trying to win the race. That race is always intense. But when you look at how many guys have to win the points and everything else, I mean, it's going to be a pretty crazy night. We got a lot of pressure on us, so we're going to be going there guns loaded and ready to do battle. I mean, just like what we did tonight. We're just going to fight all the way to that last lap. Short track is a little bit different than mile and a half. I think everybody expects there to be a little more pushing and shoving on the short track. So that's definitely going to ramp up the intensity.

Q. A lot of times track position makes things difficult to read when you're following a lot. Did you have a performance boost? Did your car get a lot better late, or was it just a matter of getting in a position where you could show it?
JEFF GORDON: Well, our car all night was strong on the short runs and just not good on the long runs. So we came in -- we took tires, I mean, there was, what, only 10 cars or nine cars on the lead lap, we came in and put tires on, put enough fuel to make sure we could make it to the end there, made some adjustments, and I got a really good restart on the outside, not talking about that last one, I am talking about when we got up into second. We had a half a lap on the tires, and we came in -- of green, right, half a lap, then those caution laps. We came in and got four tires and started outside and drove from wherever we were, eighth or whatever, to second. That's how important tires are here and track position and being in the right lane on the restarts. We had a good car on the short runs but we just didn't have it on the long runs. But we were maintaining, and unless Martin ran out of fuel, we were pretty much going to finish second. But actually that caution was the best thing that could have happened for us. That was really to me the only thing that gave us a shot to win. I thought we -- if we get a good restart, get in that outside lane, even Hamlin, I thought we were better than him on the restarts, and I got a little bit too tight, but we had the run. We had it, and just didn't do enough with it going down the back straight away.

Q. Around lap 190 or 200 you were running together with your teammate Jimmie Johnson. Was this part of the strategy that you helped each other to gain positions at that time?
JEFF GORDON: We weren't doing a very good job of it if that was the strategy. No, there was no strategy there. A strategy at a track like this is to get your car working as best it can. The team shared on pit road what adjustments each team is making to help or hurt their car, but -- I felt like neither one of us were really very good, not good enough to win. So I guess the answer is no.

Q. We had a couple, three instances lately of one lane being obviously stronger on restarts than the other, and it may not be the lane that is the primary lane when the race is going on. Can you explain how the grip can be that much different in two lanes that close to each other?
JEFF GORDON: Well, I don't know if thatís anything new. When the tires are new and they have a lot of grip, if your car is working well, you run around the bottom until the grip gives up. That's why you see guys run around the bottom for a few laps. But I was shocked. Hamlin, Kyle Busch, other than Martin and maybe myself and a couple others, I was very surprised those guys were able to run a lower lane tonight even on the long runs. Of course down in three and four the bottom lane is the only lane that's the preferred lane all the time because you hook that paint down there. But you kind of have that in one and two but not really. It's just because thereís so much grip in the tires, the shortest way around is almost always the best and fastest way around, and it just makes it hard to make that outside lane work. This is not a progressive racetrack, so if you have progressive banking, maybe you have a shot at carrying a little more momentum on that outside. But you've got to carry a lot more speed on the outside here the first couple laps after a restart if youíre going to make any ground up on a guy thatís got fresh tires."

Q. It's been an awful long time since you've won at Richmond. Tell me over the last 10 years or so, has the track changed? Has your philosophy changed? Has the competition gotten that much better? Why has it become so much more difficult to win at Richmond?
JEFF GORDON: It's always hard to win, no matter where you go. Not the last time we were there, but last time we actually had a car capable of winning. Kenseth wrecked us one time, and then I can't remember what happened in the other one. But we've had cars in the last couple years that have been good enough to win. So we've already been talking about Richmond and our debriefs about the things that we can do to improve our performance the last time we were there. We just completely flat out missed the setup last time we were there trying some new stuff, and it didn't work. We'll go back with a little bit more conventional, typical for us, and try to improve on it from there and see how the race unfolds. But I think we can -- we know Kyle is going to be tough there, we know those other guys are going to be tough, but I think we can mix it up with them pretty good.

Q. Trying to crunch the numbers, it looks like it's going to be pretty much you versus Kyle. You're going in there 12 points behind him so you're going to have to win. Does it make it easier for you that it's pretty much just probably going to be just down to the two of you for one spot?
JEFF GORDON: You don't want to have to go beat Kyle Busch at Richmond. He's pretty strong there (laughing). I think we're really just going to focus on our own program like we always do. We focus on tuning the car, communicating and working the setup the best we possibly can and try to have the fastest race car out there. If we can do that, then we try not to make any mistakes driving on pit road and pit strategy. If we don't have the fastest car we've got to switch it up and puts a little more pressure on the crew chief or maybe even on me if we try some tire strategy, fuel mileage strategy, whatever we do track position wise, but you canít predict any of those things. We've got to go out there and race, you've got to race hard. I'm not going into it thinking that we've got to finish, whatever, 12 positions ahead of Kyle. I'm thinking we've got to win. And if we don't make it, as long as we put our best effort forward, we didn't make it, then we go try to win races in the final 10."


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