FORT WORTH, Texas – This Saturday night’s NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is just another piece of the puzzle for Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 Cromax® Pro team.
In the first intermediate track (high-speed 1.5-to-2.0-mile ovals) event of the year, Gordon finished 25th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. At Auto Club Speedway in California later that month, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion finished 11th.
“We went into California with some concerns,” said Gordon, who is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. “I felt like we ran better at California than we did at Las Vegas, but we still have some things that we’re working on for Texas to make improvements.”
In 24 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Gordon has a lone win (2009), two poles, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s.
“You’re always learning from your experiences and I think there are some things we learned in California that will make us better at Texas,” said Gordon, whose No. 24 Chevrolet SS will feature a familiar FireStorm paint scheme this weekend. “We’re just going to stay focused on each race and continue to work on bettering our intermediate program.”
Last Sunday’s third-place finish at Martinsville Speedway marked Gordon’s 299th top-five – only two away from tying David Pearson for third all-time. That finish on a relatively flat half-mile track could prove valuable this weekend according to No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson.
“As crazy as it sounds, things we learned at Martinsville can help at Texas,” Gustafson said. “Right now, everything is so new to us (with the Generation-6 car) that we are learning every week.
“I think we’ve learned at every track we’ve run on this year. At Las Vegas – as bad as that was for us – it’s a piece of the puzzle. You can’t shy away from your struggles because it’s information that you can use to your benefit. The more time you spend on intermediate tracks the better you understand what is important – and what isn’t important – to focus on.
“We have to just keep putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”