Gordon Seeks Texas Success

Jeff Gordon

"We hope to have another fast car this weekend." (Photo: Getty Images)

Jeff Gordon will look to end his season-long winless drought with a return to Texas Motor Speedway the sight of his last Sprint Cup win.

The four-time series champion scored his last checkered flag in April of 2009 at the 1.5-mile track and has not been able to repeat that accomplishment all season long.

He’s come close, including last April’s Texas stop when he led 124 laps but ultimately came up short of making it back-to-back victories in the Lone Star State when he was caught up in a multi-car accident.

But Gordon and crew chief Steve Letarte are confident that what worked back in April will give them another excellent chance at winning in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500.

“We're going to go back there the same way we were," Gordon said. "We're going to find out how much this sport and setups have changed since we were last there and then we will fine-tune it from there.”

Despite eventually coming up short of victory lane, Gordon’s run in April gives him confidence in Sunday’s return to TMS.

“We had such a great car there, it is hard to go back any different,” he said.

Gordon has fallen from contention in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup title race but he still has goals to accomplish over the remaining three races of the season.

“Our goal right now (is) by doing some positive things,” Gordon said. “Hopefully getting to Victory Lane and showing we are capable of winning and get some momentum going into the off-season regardless of what happens in the points."

Although similar in length to other 1.5-mile layouts such as Atlanta and Charlotte, Texas has its own unique set of challenges.

"It's a tough 1.5-mile race track because the transitions from straightaways to the corners and corners to straightaways are very challenging and abrupt,” said Gordon, who has 17 top 10s in 2010. “So it's hard to get the car comfortable in those sections.

“And if you get comfortable in those sections in and off the corner, how do you get the car to turn in the middle? You're doing all those things at a 170 or 180 miles per hour, so it’s a very challenging race track. It's been one of the most challenging for me and my race team over the years for that reason.”

Letarte will provide his driver with a car he believes is capable of winning but understands adjustments will no doubt be made as the 500 mile race wears on.

“It’ll be different than April in that we’ll start later in the day and end most likely under the lights,” Letarte said. “The handling of the car will certainly change under those conditions so we’ll have to be on top of just what’s working and adjust accordingly as nightfall approaches.”

Having the power and speed that was at his disposable in the Spring is all Gordon is hoping for when the green flag flies Sunday afternoon.

“You never know what it's going to take to pull off a win, but a fast race car certainly helps,” Gordon said. “We had that in the spring and we hope to have another fast car this weekend.

“I expect us to be really strong.”

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