Gordon Ready to Drive for Five

Jeff Gordon

"There's not one track in these next 10 weeks that scares me because I think that we just really have done a great job dissecting down our issues." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jeff Gordon's drive for five championships will kick off this weekend when he makes his seventh career appearance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

The 40-year-old veteran will be going for his first title since 2001 when he starts Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway as the third seed in the Chase after scoring three wins in the regular season.

"To win three races, to run the way we have and just gain the momentum, this team could not be more pumped and excited about getting this Chase started," Gordon said. "Chicago is a great track for us. So we look forward to the next 10 weeks."

Alan Gustafson and Jeff Gordon celebrate the win at AtlantaThis past February at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon returned to Victory Lane for the first time in 66 races in just his second points-paying race with a new team led by crew chief Alan Gustafson. Following the win, the team struggled only to finish in the top 10 three times before capturing another checkered flag at Pocono in June. But as of late, Gordon has picked up steam with nine top 10s in the last 11 races, including a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"I'm really excited about our race team right now," said Gordon, who climbed to fifth in points before the Chase reset. "I look back at our season, all the changes that were made with basically me going to a whole different team and getting to know these guys, getting an opportunity to work with them and learning how to communicate and how to get more competitive week in and week out."

This year marks Gordon's first multiple-win season since 2007 when he scored six wins, with two coming in the Chase. He entered the playoffs that year as the second seed and gave teammate Jimmie Johnson a run for his money, recording an average finish of 5.1 in the 10 races only to come out 77 points behind in second.

"I feel like in 2007, while we gave Jimmie a great run and a great battle, I still feel like they had the momentum," Gordon said, "and were outrunning us just by a little bit on a regular basis."

For the first time since the inaugural Chase in 2004, Gordon now has the momentum over Johnson as the higher seed. He will begin the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway, a track he won at in 2006, and as the most recent winner on a 1.5-mile speedway (Atlanta).

"We're competing with everybody out there right now, and lately I feel like we've been better than most on a lot of different types of racetracks: short tracks, superspeedways, intermediates," said Gordon, who has a 5.0 average finish in the last three races on a 1.5-mile speedway. “There's not one track in these next 10 weeks that scares me because I think that we just really have done a great job dissecting down our issues, and addressing them and making our cars better as we go to those tracks."

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