Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is winless and a bit of an afterthought this season, even though he was consistent enough to make the 12-man Chase field.
Stumbling out of the gate at New Hampshire, Gordon heads to Dover 11th in the standings, 99 points behind leader Carl Edwards with nine races remaining. And it could have been worse.
The longtime Hendrick Motorsports star narrowly avoided a major hit - on the track and in the standings - at Loudon. After losing a handful of positions twice during pit stops because he was blocked in by the car of Robby Gordon, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet worked his way back into the top 10 with fewer than 20 laps remaining.
But Gordon was forced to hit the brakes hard to barely avoid a spinning car late in the race. That relegated Gordon to a 14th-place finish.
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"We had a better car than our finishing position showed last week and that's sort of the way our year has gone so far," Gordon said. "We lost track position several times and it was hard to fight back from it. I guess it could have been much worse if I had been collected in the wreck."
Now Gordon has some serious ground to make up, starting with a track where he has four wins, 14 top-fives and 19 top-10s in 31 starts.
"We are a dangerous organization and we enter each race thinking we can win," he noted. "And that's what we hope to do at Dover."