Gordon Forgetting Points at Michigan
- Aug 13, 2003
- 24 Team
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 13, 2003) – Jeff Gordon may sit third in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standings, but he is not thinking about points as the circuit heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend.
Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has dropped from second to third in the standings and lost 231 points to leader Matt Kenseth over the past four races. Over that span, he has three finishes of 24th or worse and two wrecked race cars.
The string began at New Hampshire International Speedway when Gordon led a race-high 133 laps before finishing 24th when the team’s fuel strategy backfired. At Pocono Raceway, Gordon’s day ended with a wreck in Turn 3 and a 36th-place finish. One week later, Gordon finished fourth in the Brickyard 400.
And last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Gordon started from the pole, but was spun entering Turn 1 on the first lap. By the final lap, he had maneuvered to third before running out of gas. Coasting to the checkered flag with a top-five in sight, the No. 24 Chevy spun into the wall just 50 yards from the finish after being hit from behind by Kevin Harvick. Gordon finished a disappointing 33rd.
“This team has been putting in a solid effort each week, but we just don’t have the results to show for it,” Gordon said. “We need to forget about the points and just concentrate on racing.
“We can’t get down on ourselves. We just need to keep plugging away and the results will come.”
Better results may come this weekend at Michigan, where Gordon has captured two wins, three poles, 14 top-fives and 16 top-10s in 21 career starts. His average starting position at the two-mile speedway is 9.8 while his average finish is seventh.
Fuel mileage may play a role in determining Sunday’s winner. If a team can stretch fuel mileage, it is possible to complete the race with only three stops for fuel.
“Fuel strategy hasn’t been on our side recently,” Gordon said. “We favored the conservative approach at New Hampshire and it didn’t work. We gambled at Watkins Glen and that didn’t work.
“Hendrick Motorsports has one of the best engine programs in the sport. We just need to figure out the best fuel strategy.”
If that happens, Gordon could be celebrating his 63rd career victory on Sunday.
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