Lowes Woes For Gordon

CONCORD, N.C. - If Lowe's Motor Speedway is Jimmie Johnson's "house," it's been nothing but a house of pain for Jeff Gordon in recent years.

Gordon has an average finishing position of 34th in his last five starts at the 1.5-mile speedway, a trend he'll have to overcome to do well in Saturday night's Bank of America 500.

In fact, it's been so bad for Gordon he hasn't even finished one of those last five races.

But despite the downward trend, Gordon doesn't see a reason to change his approach coming into this week's race.

"When you have a blown motor and things happen around you, sometimes you can't do anything about that," he said. "You just keep approaching it the same way that you did when you won here or at a track. So I don't think there's a lot that we're going to do different than we have all year long other than maybe just be a little bit more patient in traffic."

But when Gordon comes up on Chase contenders who aren't quite in the thick of the battle at this point of the playoff season, will his strategy then change?

"That is a good question because when you first started asking it I was like 'No, our strategy doesn't change at all because we still have to battle hard because of the No. 48 and No. 07 and No. 20," Gordon said, "But as you asked that question, it made me think a little bit more that yeah, there might be some guys a little bit further back than say 200, that we might. You've got to be smart. Really, the strategy is that you've got to be smart. You've got to know when to be aggressive, and you've got to know when to be patient. To me, that's what's going to win the championship, it's not about who you are racing, and so we know that this is where Jimmie's strongest track, where Tony's strongest track is."

But on the other hand, Gordon knows his recent history at the track may need him to change his approach.

"But we won't focus on the competition," he said. We'll focus on making the No. 24 car the best it can possibly be."

"And making it to the end of the race."

It hasn't been all bad for Gordon in Charlotte. In 29 starts, Gordon has four wins including his first ever in the Cup Series in 1994, seven poles including his first in NASCAR's premier division in 1993, 13 top-fives and 15 top-10's.

"I've had some great moments at this track but, recently, I've only been to Victory Lane to congratulate teammates," said Gordon, who last won at LMS in 1999. "Instead of visiting, I hope we're celebrating there on Saturday night."

"If we do our job right, I know we'll be in contention for the win."

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