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Martinsville win provides Chase surge for Gordon, No. 24 team

CONCORD, N.C. – In a season full of twists and turns, Jeff Gordon is having fun.

Exemplifying the “Refuse to Lose” attitude, Gordon has driven his way to third in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. That’s the highest Gordon has been ranked with three races remaining in the season since 2009, when he finished third. Add in the fact that Gordon won last weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and it appears the No. 24 team is picking up steam heading into this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Things have really been coming our way,” Gordon said. “The momentum is there and confidence is there. The race cars are a lot of fun to drive, and just going to the racetrack right now is a lot of fun, and that makes a big difference.”

Dating back to the Aug. 24 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Gordon has recorded eight top-10 finishes and has an average finish of 7.1. He has been moving in the right direction. Yet the driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS isn’t taking his recent trip to Victory Lane for granted.

“You never know when that next one is going to come,” said Gordon, who has 88 career Cup victories and seven in the last six seasons. “I understand that better today than I ever have, just because the wins haven’t come as often. But this is a special one for many reasons. You know, it’s Martinsville, that grandfather clock is very special, very historical racetrack. It’s one that’s been very good to me. ”

The never-give-up attitude also has helped propel Gordon from 13th in the Chase standings at Chicagoland Speedway to third following Martinsville.  He hasn’t lost sight of the championship hunt.

“We’re in it. Until we’re mathematically out of it, we’re in it,” Gordon said. “We’ve just got to go fight hard and see if we can’t do something extraordinary, and it’s going to take an extraordinary three weeks for that to happen. But mathematically we’re certainly in it.”

“I think we’re in it,” agreed crew chief Alan Gustafson. “I think we can go win these next three races, and I think that anything can happen. If we go win these races, it’s not like they’ve got to finish 20th. Those guys go and finish 10th, we’re going to have a show at Homestead (Fla.). That’s what we’ve got to focus on doing, and obviously we can win.”

The final three races of the 2013 season are held at Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Those are places where Gordon has scored a combined four victories, 25 top-five finishes and 42 top-10s.

“We just want to win,” Gordon said. “We just want to win the races and win the championship. That’s all that matters.”

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