TALLADEGA, Ala. – After he runs his final restrictor-plate race on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Jeff Gordon may be ready to reflect on his history at the track.
Until then, however, Gordon’s focus is confined to the CampingWorld.com 500, the race that will determine which eight drivers will advance to the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and which four won’t.
“This place has been really good to me and also really bad,” said Gordon, who was 10th fastest in Friday’s final practice. “I’m coming in with a positive attitude – excited at how fast our race car is and how good our team is. It’s a great opportunity we have in front of us. So I’m not thinking about it from a historic standpoint or even letting it sink in that it’s my final race here. We have too much of a job at hand here. Our focus is on this round, continuing in the Chase and moving on.
“I really believe that if we can make it through this round, we have three great tracks coming up that we can move on all the way to Homestead and do something we didn’t do last year and possibly something I’ve never done before, and that’s win a Sprint Cup championship (all four of Gordon’s titles came under the Winston Cup banner).”
Gordon then fired a warning shot his competitors in the Chase would be well-advised to heed.
“I know that we’re not running the way that some others are,” Gordon said. “But if we get through this one, I’m telling you, there are four tracks (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead) where we can surprise some people. That’s all that’s on my mind.”
Gordon later won the pole position for Sunday’s race.