Clock Ticking for Gordon

Jeff Gordon

“Who knows, these next two weeks could be just unbelievable or these next two weeks could be just disastrous." (Photo: Getty Images)

Time is definitely short for Jeff Gordon to get a victory and somehow make his way into the Chase as a Wild Card.

The defending winner of this weekend’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway had the top spot in the race to get into the playoffs as the 11th seed last month when he won at Pocono.

But since then, Gordon has stumbled and finds himself trailing Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch with only two races left in the regular season.

“You know, you just go out there and do your job,” Gordon said after Friday’s practice session in Atlanta. “We want it bad. We go out every practice trying to get the most out of the car. You have ups and downs. It's how you handle those ups and downs and minimize them from being big peaks and valleys that allow you to stay focused.”

Gordon is hoping to bring some momentum with him into Sunday night’s race after a third place finish last Saturday at Bristol. But he knows the two tracks couldn’t be more different and despite his Atlanta success, Gordon considers the Georgia speedway a challenge.

“For us, it's kind of hit-or-miss,” he said. “Last weekend was a great weekend for us. We had a car we thought was capable of winning. Came home third. It was a solid weekend. But that's the way our season has gone. We have those type of weekends, then we go to the next weekend and have a hard time building that momentum.

“This is certainly a great track for us to build on from Bristol. We have confidence from being here last year. Our cars have been good this year. I'm confident right now that this could be a good weekend. But it's going to take a lot of hard work. It's a tricky track.”

Gordon faced a similar situation in 2005 when he missed the Chase and tried to draw some parallels to what he and crew chief Alan Gustafson have faced this season.

“Pressure-wise I think is about the same,” he said. “You know, you want to be in it. You don't want to be on the outside looking in. We had to step up in a big way then. That was a big challenge for us. We recognize it's going to be a big challenge for us this year, as well. But I've got more confidence in our performance this year but yet not so much because we just haven't had things go the way we need them to.

“Who knows, these next two weeks could be just unbelievable or these next two weeks could be just disastrous. You just don't know.”

But Gordon’s approach is to simply go out every week and put forth the best effort possible.

“I try not to go into races with too many expectations, I just go in trying to do the best job I can and support my team and give them the tools that they need to give me the car and what I can do to give them the ability to have that great pit stop, make that good adjustment so that we can be up front, bound for the win,” said Gordon.

As for feeling time is running out, Gordon believes this year’s battle to make the Chase will truly go down to the last possible moment.

“I mean, I really think this thing is going to come down to the last lap of Richmond,” said Gordon. “I've been saying it for weeks. I still believe that. No matter what happens this weekend, I really believe so many things can change in an instant and that it truly can come down to that final lap at Richmond.

“It's going to be exciting to watch and be a part of.”

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