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Gordon enters Pocono with an eye on the Chase

 

LONG POND, PA. (July 27, 2010) – Jeff Gordon’s focus will be out the windshield of his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet during the 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway on Sunday. But this time of the year can cause NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to look over their shoulders, as well.

Only six races remain before the 12-driver “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” field is set and 161 points is the most that can be gained during one event. Gordon is currently second in the standings and 184 points behind leader Kevin Harvick, but the gap to 13th may be the more important number at this stage of the season.

With that advantage currently at 352, Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont team have some breathing room – two races worth – entering Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway.

“We haven’t clinched a spot yet, and there is still some work to do,” said Gordon, who is the only driver to have reached double digits in top-fives this year. “We’re second in the standings, but I’d probably rather be seventh with a couple wins under our belt.

“But our positioning gives us some flexibility in the upcoming races. If we want to gamble in an attempt to get the 10 bonus points (for a win entering the Chase), we can do that knowing we won’t fall too far down the standings. The first priority, though, is securing that Chase spot and trying to carry some momentum into the final 10 races.”

And momentum is something Gordon does not want to lose during Sunday’s 200-lap race.

“We started off June’s race here pretty good, but then we got real loose,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “Then we lost a ton of positions on a double-file restart when I lost some momentum. Everybody seemed to ‘freight train’ on by. And then we lost a car in a final-lap crash.”

But that 32nd-place finish in June was only his third outside the top 14 in his last 21 starts at the 2.5-mile track. Overall, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has four wins, two pole positions, 16 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s in 35 starts at the Pennsylvania track.

“This is a challenging track because it has three unique corners,” Gordon said. “The tunnel turn (Turn 2) is a short but really fast corner, and it’s a thrill to go through there when you hit it right. But when you mess up the corner, it really kills your momentum.”

And looking ahead, momentum is what Team DuPont wants to take away from Sunday’s race.

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