Trailing Hendrick Motorsport team-mate Mark Martin by 102 points in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon didn't mince words when asked about his goals for Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, the second race in the Chase.

"We need to be in the top ten," said Gordon, who finished 15th last Sunday at New Hampshire and dropped to tenth in the standings, "That's really the bottom line. Everybody is going to have a 15th-or-worse finish, I believe, somewhere along the way. It could possibly be worse than that when you get to Talladega and Martinsville -- those places where the unknown is there.

"Obviously, we've got some ground to make up, but we're not sitting here going 'okay, we've got to make it all up right here at Dover - we're in a do-or-die situation'. We're not. We're looking at it as nine races. We've got nine races to get our consistency up, our performance up. We've got to lead some laps. When we're in position to battle for a win, we've got to pull off the win."

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Gordon has one victory this year, at Texas in April, but his fortunes already have improved at Dover. At the last race at the Monster Mile, in May, Gordon crashed during qualifying, started 42nd and finished 26th. In Friday's qualifying session, he earned the seventh starting position for Sunday's race.

by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service