Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gordon Faces Must-Win Weekend In New Hampshire

Jeff Gordon’s task is clear cut; win at least two of the next eight races, or be left out of the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Gordon realizes the task at hand

With that daunting task at hand, this weekend's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway ranks as the next-best thing to a “must win” race. Last year, Gordon overcame numerous obstacles in a pair of starts at the Loudon, NH, oval. In July, the three-time NHMS winner led 19 laps before electrical problems dropped him from the lead lap. He battled back and was running inside the top five before a blown
right-front tire on the final lap relegated him to a disappointing 11th-place finish."

In September, Gordon led a race-high 78 laps before issues on his final stop left him with only a partial fuel load and forced him to race conservatively in the final laps. Despite have to nurse his car to the finish, the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion finished fourth. 

"I feel like Alan (Gustafson) and our engineers do an excellent job on flat race tracks - especially tracks like Loudon," said Gordon. "(New Hampshire) is high on my list of tracks that I feel we can capitalize on." 

Along with three wins and three poles in 34 starts at the 1.058-mile track, Gordon leads all drivers with 15 Top-5 and 19 Top-10 finishes, along with 1,304 laps led.  

"I think Loudon is a great opportunity for us," he said. "We've been very competitive here recently, and I feel we can be competitive again this weekend, hopefully with a shot at winning. It's a track that I really enjoy, but it's not an easy one to get around because of the long straightaways, flat corners and hard braking. I think the variable banking has made it a little bit easier to run side-by-side and make passes, though." 

With just eight races remaining before the Chase field is set, Gordon knows that only wins will aid his quest to earn a spot in the 12-driver playoff field.  

"We are not afraid of trying things with the setup or during the race," said Gordon, who is currently a distant 17th in Sprint Cup championship points. "We're not afraid to take some risks. Each race that goes by without a win; the more risk we are willing to take. 

"But I feel like we're still a long way from being out of this thing.

Photo Credit: Greenobles.com 


  1. Anonymous2:09 PM

    I believe.

    1. Anonymous9:24 PM

      As do I. There's a reasonable window to get into the Chase with one win still. But two would be nice. Three would be better. It can happen. It will be hard.