FORT WORTH, Tex.—Jeff Gordon may be the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup leader, but his position atop the standings is hardly secure.
With five drivers, including Gordon, bunched together within a seven-point range, and with only four spots available for the title race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gordon prefers to focus on the only certain way to maintain championship eligibility for the season finale—by winning one of the next two races.
That’s why Gordon and his team are approaching Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN) intent on taking the checkered flag.
“To me, our focus is about going out there and winning the race,” Gordon said. “We’re not really thinking about anything else other than doing that. Last week (second at Martinsville) was a good performance.
“Obviously, we would be very comfortable right now if we’d gotten that win. But we didn’t. And so now, it’s all about coming here and executing and doing what we’ve been doing all year long, which is approaching each race working on the details and trying to get the job done.”
With Dale Earnhardt Jr., Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate winning at Martinsville, there will be at least two positions in the final available on points after the third race in the Chase’s Eliminator Round on Nov. 9 at Phoenix.
To Gordon, the best way to assure a strong finish at Texas is to concentrate on trying to win the race. And the benefits of a victory are enormous, with championship eligibility at Homestead the major prize.
“We’ve got to come out of (Texas) with a solid finish,” Gordon said. “Whether we win or not, there is definitely added pressure than what we’ve seen in the past.
“But I think if we just execute and do our jobs the way we are capable of, then that will take a lot of the pressure off.”