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Gordon underlines importance of bonus points.


Entering Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon is only 84 markers behind NASCAR Sprint Cup leader Tony Stewart but, with ten races remaining before the twelve-driver Chase for the Championship field is set, he is nervously eyeing the gap to the drivers in ninth and eleventh.

Gordon currently holds a 366-point advantage over 13th place, so his place in the elite field should be secure barring a nightmare middle of the season, but, while his first priority is to secure a berth in the Chase, he is also keeping tabs on bonus points.

Following round 26, points will be reset for the twelve participating drivers, with ten bonus points awarded for each win accrued to that point. Kyle Busch and Gordon's
Hendrick Motorsport team-mate Mark Martin have each collected a series-high three wins so far this season, but currently lie ninth and eleventh in the points respectively. Although both are precariously close to the bubble – less than 50 points separate ninth from 13th - Gordon is keen to give himself the best chance of matching them in the bonus stakes should they all make the 'post-season'.

“Our goal is to make it into the Chase,” Gordon emphasised, having picked up one race win so far in 2009, “but you can't help but keep an eye on the bonus points. Right now, I know we're 20 points behind those with three wins, so I'd like to cut – or possibly eliminate – that gap before the Chase begins.

“Over the next ten races, we're looking to build momentum. You want to enter the Chase with the competition believing you are the team to beat. A win this weekend
can do a lot for a team and a driver - the ten bonus points are important, but the first race of the Chase is back here, and it's a confidence boost when you return as the track's previous race winner.”

In 28 starts at the New England speedway, Gordon has three wins and three poles among a dozen top five finishes but, while he had a pair of second-place finishes here in 2007, strong runs in 2008 are not underlined by an eleventh-place finish in June and 14th in September.

“We drove up into the top five in June here last year, but a late pit-stop and rain hurt our finishing position,” he recalled, referring to a pit-stop for fuel that was followed closely by rain that ended the race prematurely, “In September, we lost about ten positions late when I had to slow to avoid a spinning car.”

But that was not the last time Team DuPont visited the 1.058-mile facility.

“We participated in a Goodyear tyre test here in April, although I don't know how beneficial that was,” explained crew chief Steve Letarte, “It was 31 or 32 degrees then, and those conditions are much different than what I expect we'll see this weekend.

“We've had some good runs here recently, and I hope that continues this weekend. It's been a while since Jeff has been to Victory Lane at this track, and I'd like to change that. And sooner rather than later.”



Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon - Hendrick Motorsports   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, speaks to the media after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. July 12, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch celebrates pole position at Phoenix International Raceway. November 8 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, qualified for 7th position Friday, November 7, 2014 for Sunday`s final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Alex Newman at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. July 11, 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, races to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 1, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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