KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Past statistics are certainly in Jeff Gordon’s favor at Kansas Speedway, but what about future ones? The two-time track winner hopes the odds are on his side in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event.
In 11 starts, Gordon’s two wins (2001 inaugural event and 2002) at the 1.5-mile track tie him with Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle for tops in the Sprint Cup Series. But Gordon leads the pack with eight top-five finishes and nine top-10s, and his 8.1 average finish is best among drivers with more than one start at the Kansas track.
“This has been a great track for us, and I can’t wait for this weekend’s race,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “I hope we run like we did earlier this year. If so, it gives us a chance to make up some points.”
Gordon was in contention for much of June’s 400-mile event here, but he was forced to stop for fuel near the end of the race. A trio of drivers conserved enough gas to beat the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion to the checkered flag.
“I feel like Kansas is where we really turned the corner this year with our 1.5-mile program,” Gordon said. “We ran really strong and I felt like we had a shot at winning that race.”
The No. 24 team gained momentum with that performance. Gordon entered the June Kansas race 16th in the standings and 121 out. Seven races later, he was up nine spots and had gained 56 points on the leader. Therefore, with seven races remaining in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Gordon’s ninth-place standing and 19-point deficit is far from insurmountable.
“I guess we are somewhat fortunate,” Gordon said. “We’ve had only one good race out of three, but we’re down only 19 points. That doesn’t have to be made up in one event. Seven races is a lot of races.
“But every race is important. It doesn’t matter what track you are going to and what your past experience or stats are there. It’s all about what you do these next seven weeks. That’s all it boils down to. And I think this No. 24 team is strong enough to put a string of seven good races together.”