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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]
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for second position Friday, October 31, 2014 for Sunday`s Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Gordon, who is in the Chase, leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings . (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Grainger Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series O`Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on October 31, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS celebrates his 4th victory of the season with Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motor Sports, and his girlfriend, Amy Reimann, after winning Sunday, October 26, 2014 the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This is the 10th anniversary of a Hendrick Motorsports plane crash which killed 10 in Martinsville. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to a second place finish and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Both Gordon and Newman are in the The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS, races to his 4th win of the season with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishing second Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This was also Earnhardt, Jr.`s first career win at Martinsville. Gordon now leads the standings in the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 25, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for 13th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon, who is in the Chase, is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS won the pole position and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS qualified for 16th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. McMurray, who is not in the Chase, is 19th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. This was McMurray`s 2nd Pole win this season. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, left, talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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