Gordon: Chase addition has “lit a fire under us”

8 Comments

Like it or not, Jeff Gordon is in the Chase for the Sprint Cup – and while he and his team had been inconsistent through the regular season, he believes that everyone’s ready to show that they truly deserved their post-season berth.

“I always like to say that you’ve got to walk before you can run, but I will say this has lit a fire under us,” Gordon said Friday about his chances of claiming a fifth Sprint Cup title.

“…I know we haven’t shown it yet this year, but this team is ready to show it now. So, I think that’s the one thing is when you get yourself in this position, you want to show the world and our racing community, the ones that support us and the ones that didn’t, that we belong here and there is a reason why we’re in this thing.”

NASCAR added Gordon to the Chase as a 13th driver following the events of last Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. He was one of the competitors most impacted by a spin from Clint Bowyer with seven laps to go in that event, and when the checkered flag flew following a restart with three laps left, he found himself out of the Chase by a single point.

But that was then. Now, Gordon is looking forward to the post-season stretch on a set of tracks that have treated him and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team well in the past.

“We have ten, or at least eight, I’d say, good racetracks that are in the Chase that I really like, that we run well at, and it starts right here in Chicago,” he said. “This is a good track for us. We qualified well. New Hampshire is a great track for us. Martinsville is a great track for us. Obviously, Homestead is a great track. We ran great in Charlotte.

“I mean, I would say Kansas and Phoenix are the two that are probably on our radar that we need to do better at. Texas is another good track for us. So, I’m excited.”

Gordon won at Chicagoland back in 2006 and has collected seven Top-10 finishes in 12 career Cup starts there. He’ll start sixth in tomorrow’s Chase opener, the GEICO 400.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
1 Comment

Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.