Don't be alarmed by this post, I am a huge Gordon fan, but want to be realistic about the 4 races remaining in his legendary career. What I say here is not to bash, criticize, or rule out any potential success that could come to Gordon over the next month. If I could be a little bias, I would love nothing more than to see 'ole 4-time' become 5-time.
Okay, let's get going on this topic. As much as I would love to see Jeff Gordon go out and dominate the next 4 races, I am realistic. The #24 has not shown the performance to go out and dominate races. Gordon has powered through many rough weekends and turned a 20th place car into a top-10 ride. Gordon, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all-time has only 4 chances to take home a win this season, and this weekend has to be his greatest shot to win. In this post I want to hit three key points as to why Martinsville may be Gordon's last chance to step into victory lane. Again, I want to emphasize that I am in no way trying to bash Gordon, he is my favorite driver and I would almost give anything for him to take home the title. Well, let's get going.
If you think Jeff Gordon doesn't have what it takes to get around the so called paper-clip, you clearly aren't a genuine NASCAR fan. In 45 career starts, Gordon has found victory lane 8 times, and has a 6.8 average finish at Martinsville. Gordon who at one point was able to string together 11 top-5's in a row at the .526 mile track, is one of the best drivers to ever master the hair-pin turns and drag strip straight-a-ways. Martinsville fits Gordon's driving style, where a driver has to maneuver the car and manage his equipment. Gordon knows when to be aggressive and when to fall into line, and all of this knowledge will be applied this week as he attempts to survive 500-laps. Of the tracks remaining, Martinsville is clearly Gordon's best in terms of statistics and performance. Gordon just plain out knows how to get the job done. At the other three tracks Texas, Pheonix, and Homestead, Gordon has struggled at times. Remember these three tracks are also three of the tracks it took Gordon the longest to win at. Martinsville is the last of Gordon's bread-and-butter tracks, so hopefully he can take advantage.
2. Lacking Speed Elsewhere
This honestly isn't Gordon's fault, but the Hendrick cars just haven't had speed the second half of the season. Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing have emerged as favorites over the long haul, and Hendrick just hasn't caught up. Unless Hendrick has found the recipe over the last 2 weeks, I just don't think the #24 is fast enough to snag a win at the three tracks remaining after Martinsville. Texas will be about raw speed, which Gordon has yet to find. Pheonix will be all about beating the #4 team, and I just can't see the #24 car accomplishing that task right now. As for Homestead, another speed track, Gordon may again find himself lacking strength when he puts his foot on the gas pedal once again. Martinsville is the perfect location for Gordon to snag his last career win considering that horse power is not always the deciding factor. Don't get me wrong any time the motor can give you something extra you have an advantage, but Martinsville is more about surviving. Gordon knows how to keep his nose clean, and find speed late in the race, in fact that has what he has been known for the second half of the season. As long as Gordon positions himself nicely throughout the day he will have a shot, and a shot may be all the 4-time champ needs to put himself into victory lane for the 93rd time in his career.
3. Great Attitude
After seeing the 44-year-vet power his way into a 3rd place finish at Talladega, the confidence of the #24 team has skyrocketed. Gordon, who has now finished in the top-10 in five of the last seven races, has a little swagger in his step coming into the race weekend. In my opinion this is the most consistent and confident #24 team we have seen all season. Gordon is known for being a momentum driver and right now things are looking up. In addition to finally finding consistency Gordon is headed to one of his favorite tracks on the circuit. If you look at the wiley veteran you can see a bit of confidence and happiness on his face. Gordon knows that as long as he does his job he will have a chance to be first to the checkard flag come Sunday. Gordon qualified 5th for the race, so a solid starting spot only helps his chances. Look for Gordon to be up front most of the day as long as he avoids troubles and penalties. Remember Gordon had the best car in the spring but cost himself due to a speeding penalty on pit-road. If Gordon just races his own race and uses the bumper when necessary he could be taking home his 9th grandfather clock.
Overall, I hope Gordon can get the job this weekend. As sad as it is to think he only has 4 races left in his career, it is even more disappointing to know that this may be his last chance to claim a Sprint Cup checkard flag. Again, I am not saying that he can't win elsewhere but with the speed of competitors and the lack of power from Hendrick lately, Gordon needs to get a win where speed wanted but not necessarily needed. Gordon finally has the confidence he needs, and as long as he puts together a complete race he WILL be a factor at the end of 500 laps!
Thanks for reading!! For all you Gordon fans, just know that I am with you! I myself am a part of #GordonNation, but I also want to be realistic. I hope you enjoyed this post, and hope you enjoy the race this weekend!! Let me know your opinion on this issue, and others involving the Chase for the championship! Remember to follow me on Instagram: NASCAR OPINION & Twitter: @nascar_opinion! Have a great rest of your day!!