Jeff Gordon hopes to make inroads on Chase leaders before Homestead

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 01: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, looks on from the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

FORT WORTH, Tex. — Jeff Gordon is a realist, but he also has reason to be optimistic.

Through seven races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Gordon is third in the series standings, 26 points behind co-leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson.

Gordon knows the odds against both drivers having trouble in the next three races are long, but the four-time champion also believes he can make his presence felt if he can narrow his deficit to the frontrunners appreciably in the next two weeks.

In fact, Gordon knows exactly where he’d like to be in relation to the leaders entering the season finale Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“It’s hard to make up more than 10 points on either one of those guys in a single race,” Gordon said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. “So, I would think that you’d need to be within 10 or 12 points at Homestead.

“I do know we had a great test at Homestead. I felt like we have a very fast race car and I would love to be in that position at Homestead, because I do think we could put some pressure on them. Those guys make very few mistakes.

“We’re not expecting anything out of them this week, next week or the week after that. Again, all we’re doing is trying to do our job the best that we can. But it would be pretty exciting for our race team to go into Homestead and be maybe 10 or 12 points out. That would be pretty exciting.”

Gordon collected his first victory of the season last Sunday at Martinsville, and he can draw inspiration from another former winner at NASCAR’s shortest track. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville, Texas and Homestead in three of the final four races of 2011 to win the championship in a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards.

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