Jeff Gordon confident that win will come soon
April 28, 2014, Zack Albert, NASCAR.com
Jeff Gordon led the most laps Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway, securing his second runner-up finish in the last three events. The show of steady results has helped him maintain the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead for that three-race span, but it's something he'd trade for a taste of Victory Lane.
Gordon's performance -- both at Richmond and at virtually every other track this season -- hints at the notion that his 2014 win column may soon have one or more victories in the ledger. He's led multiple laps in four of the last five races, suggesting that his chances of all but securing an automatic berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs under this year's new postseason format are growing stronger by the week.
"I mean, as good as we're running, I definitely feel like we can win races just about anywhere that we go, and if we continue to perform like this, we are going to win," Gordon said Saturday night after being out front for 173 of 400 laps in the Toyota Owners 400. "That's how you win. I mean, yeah, there's sometimes when you just pick the right pit strategy. There's other times you get a good restart, and then there's times when you just go and outrun them. I'll take outrunning them more times than any because I think that's when the multiple wins are going to come.
"You're right, I mean, normally I'd be ecstatic with leading the points and where we're at and consistency, but right now those wins are just so important. I mean, I'd rather be 12th in points right now with three wins than be leading the points."
Instead, Gordon and a frenzied pack that included eventual combatants Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski watched Joey Logano squirt away to his second victory of the year, sealing his Chase fate. In the series' preceding race at Darlington Raceway, Kevin Harvick also became a two-time winner, snapping a seven-race streak of unique faces in Victory Lane to start the season.
The amplified emphasis on winning this season has moved Logano (sixth in Sprint Cup points) and Harvick (20th) to the head of the championship-eligible class among automatic qualifiers for the Chase. It's an enviable postseason spot -- one that Gordon feels is within reach, given the right mix of late-race circumstances.
"Any time you're running this good consistently week in, week out on all different types of race tracks, it gives you confidence as a driver, as a team," Gordon said, "but you also know especially this year more than ever, you've got to go close that out. If you're going to lead that many laps, have that good a car, you've got to go close it out and you've got to get the win. So this confidence will build if we keep running like this, but eventually it can also fall off if we don't put a win or two together with that."
Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet has finished no worse than 13th all year, and his tally of seven top-10 finishes in nine races is tied for the best in the series this season with Kenseth, who ranks second in Sprint Cup standings, just five points back.
Those stats, combined with Gordon's peerless average finish of 6.8 this season, hint at bigger things to come for the four-time series champion.
"It's frustrating to not win," Gordon said, "but also each time we run this good, it builds more confidence and momentum that we're going to get that win soon."