Brad Keselowski has the early advantage in the Chase for the Sprint Cup following his win last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, and it would seem he’ll be a threat to win again in New Hampshire.
But Jeff Gordon, expected by many to play a role in the outcome of this year’s Chase, believes that he and his team can keep Keselowski and his “Blanco Deuce” from reaching Victory Lane for a third consecutive week.
“As a team, we definitely have what it takes to beat him,” Gordon said today at Loudon. “I think we’ve got a little work to do on the car, to make the car perform at a level to beat him. They’re going to be really good – don’t get me wrong. We knew coming in here, that’s no surprise.
“…Again, this is New Hampshire, this is not Phoenix, this is not Homestead. You’ve got to get all that you can out of it every single weekend, and under this new format, you can approach things differently looking at your strong races, strong portions of the race, your strengths as a team, and go try to attack those things and take advantage of them.
“Right now, do we have the best car out there? I’m not so sure that we do. But is our team strong enough to win this race? Absolutely.”
Gordon was in position to challenge Keselowski for a win in July at New Hampshire, only to run out of fuel during the lead-up to the green-white-checkered restart. He’s certainly hoping for a better result this time around.
And a win for Gordon would not only have him join Keselowski in the Contender Round of the Chase, but would also lead to a new NASCAR record; as noted earlier, New Hampshire’s had 13 different winners in its last 13 Cup races, which puts it in a tie with Texas for the all-time mark.
It seems somewhat surprising, but Gordon isn’t among those 13 different N.H. winners. In fact, he hasn’t won at this track since 1998.
When asked about what’s contributed to the streak, Gordon singled out “hard work” by the teams and the array of different pit strategies that always plays out on the Magic Mile.
“I think there is very little consistency in the trends here as to how this race finishes,” he said on the subject. “And I think that in itself can contribute to different teams and drivers being a factor or being in position to be in the right place at the right time to get that win.
“I’m kind of surprised by that stat. I’m almost encouraged by that stat because it tells me that a lot of different cars and teams and drivers can win at this track at any time. That’s why you never give up. That’s why you fight all the way to the checkered flag.”