|So long to the `stache!|
A stuck throttle sent Gordon’s AARP/Drive to End Hunger Cgevrolet into the Turn Two wall and out of the race, and the resulting 35th-place finish left the Hendrick Motorsports driver far behind in the championship battle.
Prior to qualifying for Round Two of the Chase at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Gordon said his mindset for the remainder of the season remains the same.
“It hasn’t changed,” he said. “Obviously, had things gone well at Chicago, we would have come here a little more excited and hopeful of being a real contender for the Chase. Now, we know that it’s `all or nothing.’
“Coming into (this week’s) race, I don’t think we’ve done anything different,” said Gordon. “We haven’t approached it any different than we would have, but we’re probably not as excited about the start of the Chase as we were last week. (If) we come out of here with a win, then that will all change. Just like it changed from one week to the next, it could change again.”
Gordon did his best to back-up that prediction, winning the pole for Sunday’s “Sylvania 300.” He also showed up at the track without the much talked-about mustache that inhabited his upper lip a week ago.
“I did the mustache because somebody said, ‘Hey, bring back the mustache.’ I said, ‘Well, if we make the Chase then I’ll bring it back.’ So I brought it back, (but) with the way that it went last week I was like, ‘Okay, I’m done with the mustache.’ I just changed my mind. It wasn’t hard to take it off, I can promise you that.”
While refusing to rule out a run at the 2012 title -- beginning with a win at NHMS – Gordon said he understands the task at hand.
“We know we have a lot of work to do, but we can certainly win this (race),” he said. “You never stop working hard to get a victory, or to get the maximum amount of points that you can get, week-in and week-out. We’ve overcome a lot this year. With all we’ve been through, last week was a bump in the road, but it’s not putting us in that mind frame where we’re just completely devastated and feel like we’re out of it.
“It’s going to have to be pretty extraordinary;” he admitted. “Right next to miraculous. Miraculous things have happened, so that’s what keeps us motivated and keeps us going forward.
“Anything can happen and crazier things have happened before.”Photo: Associated Press