RICHMOND, Va. - With a “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” berth on the line at Richmond International Raceway this weekend, the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger team will be focused on one team – and one team only – in their effort to secure a spot in the 10-race playoff.
Jeff Gordon enters Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event trailing Kyle Busch by 12 points for the final wild card spot. There are a myriad of possibilities, but the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion’s best opportunity of a Chase berth is victory.
“We’re going with guns loaded ready to do battle,” said Gordon. “This race is always intense and I expect it to be a pretty crazy night.
“It’s a little bit different because it’s a short track (compared to last week’s race on the 1.54-mile Atlanta track). I think everybody expects there to be a little more pushing and shoving on the short track. I’ve been saying all along that I think it’s going to come down to the last lap at Richmond – and we’re going to fight all the way down to that last lap.
“Our focus won’t be on what ‘this team’ is doing or what ‘this driver’ is doing. We’re just going to focus on our own program like we always do. We’ll focus on tuning the car, communicating and working the setup the best we possibly can to try to have the fastest race car.
“I’m not going into the race thinking that we’ve got to finish 12 positions ahead of Kyle. I’m thinking we have to win.”
In 39 starts at the 0.75-mile track, Gordon has two wins, five pole positions, 15 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s. His last win occurred here in 2000, but Gordon believes the No. 24 team is on the cusp of grabbing another.
“We’ve had some cars here the last couple of years capable of winning,” Gordon said. “Well, except for earlier this year when we were trying some new stuff and completely missed the setup.
“But we’ll go with a little bit more conventional – typical for us – setup this weekend and try to improve on it. And we’ll see how the race unfolds and try to adapt as needed. If we don’t have the fastest car, then we may have to switch it up and try some tire strategy, fuel mileage strategy or whatever we can do to get track position.
“We know Kyle is going to be tough. We know other guys are going to be tough in the race.
“But I think we can mix it up with them pretty good.”