Hendrick Motorsports

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Gordon is gunning for 'MAX' points Sunday in California

FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 5, 2010) – Entering the fourth event of NASCAR’s playoffs, Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Max Chevrolet in Sunday’s Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

While Gordon is ranked fifth in the championship standings, he is tied with Carl Edwards for best average finish in the first three Chase events with an average finish of 7.3. The native of California is still in championship contention, but he knows gains must be made.

“These first three races haven’t gone as well as we had hoped, yet we are still very much in the thick of it,” said Gordon, who is only 58 out of the lead. “We’re still very much in the championship hunt, and I think you have to keep yourself in it until Talladega (Ala.) or Martinsville (Va.). Those two are like our wildcard events, and you just have to see how those two events go.

“You can take stock of where you are after that. Our game plan hasn’t changed yet, though. Every weekend, we’re trying to qualify well, trying to race at or near the front and trying to win. We’re trying to get the best finish we possibly can and get the maximum amount of points possible.”

And Auto Club Speedway may afford the No. 24 team that opportunity. In 20 career starts at the two-mile track, Gordon has three wins (1997, 1999 and 2004), two pole positons, and 10 top-five finishes (50 percent). In 2009, Gordon posted a pair of runner-up finishes here and in February of this year, he led the event before a spark plug issue resulted in a 20th-place finish.

“We seem to run well here, and you have to have good power and good balance,” Gordon said. “Right now, there’s a lot of stuff going on around the garage with teams trying to run soft in the back versus stiff in the back. At a track like this, you can really experiment with it because the straightaways are so long and it’s a big, fast racetrack.

“We’re trying to get the spoiler out of the air a little bit and trying to work that balance out as well.”