Jeff Gordon scores 20th top-ten of season, increases points cushion on Chase cutoff
Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon talks with teammate Kasey Kahne Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both drivers are the only Hendrick Motorsports drivers above the Chase cutoff entering Talladega next Sunday.

By Dominic Aragon
October 13, 2014



With his second place finish Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon notched his 20th top-ten effort of 2014, entering Talladega with a 17 point advantage on ninth place Matt Kenseth.

Gordon led 74 laps Saturday night en route to his 12th top-five effort of the season. Gordon has now posted more top-five finishes since 2011 and more top-ten finishes since 2009.

2014 marks the 13th time in Gordon’s career he has earned at least 20 top-ten finishes in a season, but the first since 2009.

Gordon’s second place run Saturday night is his third in the last six races and sixth on the season, but with a slender advantage over ninth place, the unpredictability of Talladega Superspeedway looms over the No. 24 team.

“We’re going to have to just go race Talladega, which isn't a bad thing,” Gordon said Saturday post-race. “I don't like leaving things up to chance, which happens a lot of times at Talladega, but at the same time if it's meant to be, we go race hard and do what we need to do to try to win that race, and if it's meant to be for us to move on to the next round, we'll find out.

“If our team is good enough, if our cars are good enough, which I think we are, we'll go through to the next round.”

Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images
Jeff Gordon climbs into his car at Charlotte Motor Speedway for qualifying.

In the inaugural season of elimination inside the Chase, dramatic situations have arisen from the new format, including flared tempers at Charlotte between Chase competitors. For Gordon, he says the road to the championship will only become harder.

“When you have just these three-race segments and then they clean the slate and start all over, it creates a lot of drama, and I think they knew that going in, and that's why they did it,” he said. “It's going to shake things up from here on out. It's going to make this championship that much tougher to win.

“It's going to make it tough to make it to Homestead, and especially because you're not just racing the other guys in the Chase, you're also racing everybody out there, and they're all racing hard, wanting to win races, as well, wanting to get good finishes for many different reasons. Everybody is pushing extremely hard.”

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