Jeff Gordon: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Charlotte Preview
David Pearson’s marks may be out of reach, but drawing closer sure could help Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup title chances.
Pearson, who ranks second in all-time Cup Series victories with 105, has an 18-victory gap on third-place Gordon. The 87-time race winner believes it will be a tall order to erase that deficit, but he will do everything possible to cut into it.
“I don’t know – 105 just seems so far away,” said Gordon, who will drive the No. 24 Axalta Racing Chevrolet SS in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I never thought we would have this many wins, so you never know what could happen if we get a couple more wins under our belt.
“I am really looking forward to this weekend’s race, though. We ran well here in May, and we’ve had some great runs since the Chase started. I like how this team is performing and the effort they are putting in right now.
“I’m having a lot of fun.”
In May, Gordon worked his way up from the 14th-starting spot to run third with less than 100 laps to go in the annual 600-miler. But he lost a lap when a caution waved while Gordon was on pit road for service, then the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion was collected in a multi-car accident on lap 324 and finished 35th.
“We ran well here earlier this year and I think our intermediate track program has only gotten better since then,” said Gordon. “But we need to have a strong qualifying effort. I think our race package is good here.
“We just need to be better during qualifying.”
Earlier this year, Gordon won a pole at Richmond – the 21st consecutive season he has won at least one pole, breaking a record he shared with Pearson. Pearson, though, was a master at Charlotte qualifying by turning the fastest lap 14 times. Gordon, who has eight poles at the North Carolina track, knows another good effort on Thursday would go a long way Saturday.
“The big challenge is qualifying,” said Gordon, who has five wins, 16 top-five finishes, and 21 top-10s in 41 starts at the 1.5-mile track. “A lot can happen in 500 miles, but qualifying well, starting near the front and having a good pit stall selection makes for a good start to the race and a good start to the weekend.”
And a good start could lead to a good finish.