Jeff Gordon couldn’t hide his excitement Sunday after advancing to the third round of the Chase and moving a step closer to his first series championship since 2001.
“Being in this next round, there’s a lot of good tracks and I feel really good about it,’’ he said, looking ahead to Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway and races at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway the following weeks.
Kyle Busch, though, says that should Gordon advance to next month’s championship round at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Gordon likely won’t win the title in his final Sprint Cup race.
“I don’t see Jeff Gordon winning it this year, I just don’t see him going to Homestead and being able to beat (Kevin Harvick), (Joey Logano) right now – straight race to do that, to beat them, I don’t see that,’’ Busch said Tuesday during a session with reporters at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “If it turns into more of a circus at Homestead, then possibly, he’s got a good shot at it. I think all of us do.”
Busch’s assessment is based on performance. Gordon is winless in his last 39 races, dating to Sept. 2014 at Dover. Gordon’s four top-five finishes this season – including Sunday’s third-place finish – puts him on pace for the fewest top-five finishes in his career.
“I’d say they haven’t been one of the stronger teams, but they were certainly a top-16 capable team, but were they a top-eight team? I wouldn’t necessarily put them as a top-eight team, but they are right now and that’s all that matters,’’ Busch said.
Asked about Busch’s comment that Gordon couldn’t beat him in a title race at Homestead, Logano, who has scored six wins this season, including the last three races, didn’t want to get into such a conversation.
“I’m not going to play head games,’’ Logano said. “I’ll tell you that right now. That stuff always backfires in my face, so I’m just going to worry about my race car.
“That’s a bunch of interesting things to say. I would be worried about something like that coming back to bite me. I look at it as there are seven drivers out there besides us and seven teams that are very, very good. These are the elite eight guys that are still racing for a championship in stock cars’ top division and it would be pretty dumb to not look at any of them as threats to win a championship.”