|Gordon continues his uphill climb.|
He’s running well, and getting virtually nothing for it.
Despite a major deficit in the championship standings, Gordon isn’t giving up on winning his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup. Lately, though, he must feel like he’s double-timing his way through a swamp. Since a mechanical failure relegated his No. 24 Drive To End Hunger/AARP Chevrolet to a 35th-place finish in the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway, Gordon has finished third, second and second.
Unfortunately, that three-race hot streak has gained him just five points on leader Brad Keselowski, who has been just about as bulletproof in that span. Down 47 points after the Chicagoland debacle – a race he had a good shot at winning before a partially stuck throttle ended his day – Gordon now trails by 42.
Yes, he’s jumped from 12th in the standings to sixth, just 17 points behind third-place man Denny Hamlin. But finishing third was not his goal at the start of NASCAR’s playoffs.
“We can sit there and really get mad about what happened in Chicago,” said Gordon after his most recent runner-up finish at Talladega Sunday. “But the reality of it is, all we can do is go each and every week and keep trying to put ourselves in position to win. It's not over yet. It is certainly not over yet. So we'll see what happens.
“If we keep doing this, I really think we might have a shot at it.”
If that prediction is to come true, Gordon must take control of his own destiny, winning races instead of running third while waiting for Keselowski to stumble. Charlotte Motor Speedway provides a prime venue to continue his comeback bid. He has five career victories at CMS, the most recent coming in the fall of 2007.
As Tony Stewart proved a year ago, that the best way to hoist the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion’s trophy is by winning races, and winning often.