Originally posted on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/15/12

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 04: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stands on pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono Raceway on June 4, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon was a huge surprise at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. He qualified 13th, and he and his Hendrick Motorsports team seemed fairly happy with their car in the two practices Saturday at the track. Then in the race, he really searched and struggled most of the night. He ended up with an 18th-place finish. That kind of just wiped out, points-wise, those three awesome finishes he had in a row since that bad finish at Chicagoland Speedway. Now with five down and five to go, he finds himself 50 points out of the lead, ninth in the points. That's way too big of a mountain to climb. Clint Bowyer is the inspiration for drivers deeper in the Chase for the Sprint Cup because he headed into the Charlotte race 40 points out and he chopped 12 points off with his win Saturday night. He's now 28 back and in fourth place. But, for example, look right now at Martin Truex Jr., who is seventh and 49 points out. That's more than a full race. So not only is he more than a full ...
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