Hendrick Motorsports

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Gordon undaunted by deficit

DOVER, Del. (Sept. 23, 2009) – Despite a 15th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, Jeff Gordon isn’t losing focus on the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Before the start of the 12-driver Chase, Gordon pointed to the performance of the No. 24 team during the first 10 races of the season as a model for how they would like to perform over the final 10.

Although Team DuPont entered the season-opening Daytona 500 with high hopes, Gordon departed Speedweeks 12th in the standings after a 13th-place finish in The Great American Race. But it did not take long for Gordon and team to make up that deficit. After a second-place finish at California and a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas, Gordon was atop the standings—the same spot he held after race No. 10.

Fast forward to this Sunday’s 400-mile event at Dover International Speedway, and Gordon faces a similar deficit.

“We were really hoping to come out of the gate with a stronger performance at New Hampshire,” said Gordon, who is 10th in the standings and 102 points behind teammate and leader Mark Martin with nine races remaining. “That’s a lot of points to make up, but we have to try to rebound this weekend at Dover.

“It’s certainly going to be tough to get ourselves back into the thick of the battle, but there are still some strong tracks for us remaining and we have to make the most of them.”

In 33 starts at Dover, Gordon has four wins, four pole positions, 14 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s. But his most recent result at the one-mile facility is one the team must improve upon.

In May at “The Monster Mile,” Gordon posted one of the quickest times during practice on Friday but destroyed the chassis in a qualifying wreck. After starting from the rear in a backup car and gaining positions at the start of the race, he lost a lap when a caution waved with Gordon on pit road just past the 100-lap mark.

“That whole weekend was forgettable, starting with the qualifying wreck on Friday,” Gordon said. “Then we lost one lap on pit road and another on the track. After making some chassis adjustments, we actually ran with the leaders. We just couldn’t get any of our laps back. “We are determined to make sure that type of weekend does not occur again.”