Can Jeff Gordon and company find the last piece of the puzzle Sunday so their day ends in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Dover International Speedway?
While Gordon won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year marking his 87th career Sprint Cup victory, he has yet to secure a win this year. Accidents, part failures or other issues have affected potential strong finishes in the first dozen races of 2013. Last weekend at Charlotte, Gordon had moved up to third before an ill-timed caution and pit stop cost him a lap. It later cost him a car after he was involved in a multi-car accident.
“It just hasn’t all come together yet,” Gordon said. “If we keep having strong cars and running in the top five each week, we’ll battle for wins.”
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion appeared to be in that position here last year. Gordon led 60 laps, but an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel ultimately cost him a lap.
He recovered to finish 13th at the one-mile concrete track.
“Dover has high speeds with high-banked turns and high-banked straightaways, as well,” said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS this weekend. “Here, just like Darlington, you have to really respect the race track.
“You can’t get too caught up in racing the competition. If you get track position, you have to try to maintain it. Survival and having a good car here are very important, though.”
In 40 starts at the Monster Mile, Gordon has four wins, four pole positions, 15 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. But he knows the Delaware track earned its moniker for a reason.
“It’s a track where you’re on the edge,” said Gordon, who is 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings. “There’s not a lot of room for error.
“It can happen by itself. On your own, you can break your car loose and find yourself in trouble – and it’s hard to recover. Usually when you have a problem, you’re in the wall.
“And the same thing when you’re in a group. If it happens as a group, there is going to be a big wreck.
“It’s definitely a monster.”