Jeff Gordon will make his 46th and likely final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday. Take a look at his career highlights at the 1.5-mile track.
Be sure to check out the full video of this podcast on the NASCAR YouTube channel and listen in iTunes by searching 'The Dirty Air Podcast'. This week the guys were joined by a rotation of Chase drivers who talked about a variety of non-racing topics
RELATED: Gordon by the numbers at Charlotte As Jeff Gordon 's farewell tour winds down, so do the number of chances to scratch the win column in his final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The four-time champion sees opportunities in the seven races that remain, however, even as a bigger goal looms. Gordon took his rightful place among the 12 title-eligible Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Tuesday, just days before the three-race Contender Round kicks off with this Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM). A victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend would provide a bookend for his career at the site of his first major-league triumph, back in 1994. With 29 races in the books, Gordon is facing down the prospect of a winless final season, but he said a title ring for the thumb would be the ultimate trump card. "I mean, I'll be disappointed, but at the same time, I'm a realistic person and we've rarely put ourselves in position and had the cars and the team to do that," Gordon said. "I think certainly Martinsville's high on my list of opportunities, and I feel like we've been able to win there the last several years. I've got to make sure I go in there and do my job because I think we're very capable of winning there. "To me, the championship overrides that, and even if we don't win a race and win the championship, that'll supersede the win." Gordon qualified for the 10-race postseason on the basis of points and advanced through the first three-race series with finishes of 14th (Chicagoland), seventh (New Hampshire) and 12th (Dover). Passing the Challenger Round test mirrored the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 team's steady effort from the regular season, when Gordon placed in the top 10 in half of the 26 races. With the points re-racked for the next round, Gordon said having equal footing in the standings makes the championship race a new day for all 12 finalists, icing on the season-ending cake. "I feel like it's all bonus from here on out," Gordon said. "We haven't had the best year, but we've done a great job at fighting and overcoming things and here we are with having -- up to the Chase -- not a very great performance, and yet we're in the Chase. And I think we showed in Chicago that we've improved our mile-and-a-half program. Let's hope that continues these next two weeks, but it's full-on reset. "We came into this thing very far behind in bonus points and now we're on an even playing field as far as points are concerned. You've got to just play to your strengths, and I think our strengths are that we're very consistent, we've got a lot of fight in us, and we've had to fight through a lot of things this year, so we're very experienced at that." Gordon exited the title hunt last year in the Eliminator Round, the final three-race series before the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Though the current Chase format is only in its second year, Gordon said the pressure "only intensifies from here" as the season winds down. One team that has risen in close correlation with the stress levels has been the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 outfit helmed by defending series champion Kevin Harvick , who converted a must-win situation last weekend at Dover to keep his repeat hopes alive. Though Gordon said the focus remains in-house for the No. 24 bunch for the time being, it's been hard to ignore the accomplishments from Harvick & Co. "We're in a category right now where it's really just focus on how we get ourselves to Homestead and then see who we need to worry about, but the first step is just that," Gordon said. "But I will say consistently every weekend, he's at the top of board, he's the guy that I think everybody's measuring themselves off of, but in all honesty I think he's in a whole 'nother category right now."
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway and picks up a sweet gift.
Just how dominant has Kyle Busch been since returning from injuries suffered in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race? This dominant: SPRINT CUP SERIES Starts: 14 Wins: 4 Top fives: 5 Top 10s: 8 Laps led: 528 Average finish: 12.1 XFINITY SERIES Starts: 7 Wins: 3 Top fives: 7 Top 10s: 7 Laps led: 360 Average finish: 2.0 CAMPING WORLD TRUCK TRUCK Starts: 3 Wins: 2 Top fives: 3 Top 10s: 3 Laps led: 101 Average finish: 1.3 COMBINED Starts: 24 Wins: 9 Top fives: 15 Top 10s: 18 Laps led: 989
LEARN MORE: About Bing PLAY NOW: Play The Chase Grid Battle Game Powered by Bing The intensity in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is building as the competition moves to the Contender Round starting Saturday night in Charlotte and continuing the next two weeks at Kansas and Talladega. With the always unpredictable Talladega sitting at the end of this stretch of races, it's extra difficult to choose which eight of the remaining 12 drivers will advance to the Eliminator Round and get closer to a championship. But never fear, Bing is here to give you confidence in the picks you're about to make in The Chase Grid Battle Game Powered by Bing . With Bing Predicts , a methodology that has a history of producing accurate forecasts, you will be able to sort through these difficult times and come up with the winning choices. Bing Predicts accurately predicted the 16 drivers who would make the Chase this season, and it correctly picked 11 of the 12 drivers who advanced to the Contender Round. Check out the eight drivers Bing predicts will make it out of the Contender Round and into the Eliminator Round, then read at the bottom about an exciting opportunity to win a trip to Las Vegas for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Champion's Week. Bing Predicts : The eight drivers who will advance to the Eliminator Round Kevin Harvick , 96% chance Joey Logano , 86% Kyle Busch , 78% Denny Hamlin , 78% Brad Keselowski , 77% Matt Kenseth , 74% Carl Edwards , 64% Dale Earnhardt Jr ., 64% Kurt Busch , Jeff Gordon , Martin Truex Jr , and Ryan Newman are projected not to advance to the 'Final 8.' Note: Bing's models predicted that Earnhardt Jr. is actually more likely to be eliminated than Kurt Busch , but Junior's stellar record on restrictor-plate tracks, particularly at Talladega where he has six career Sprint Cup victories, makes him more likely to win the last race in this round at Talladega and advance -- similar to what Harvick did at Dover to get into the Contender Round. In addition to helping you win the NASCAR Chase Grid Battle game, Bing also wants to send you on a trip of a lifetime to celebrate the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup champion. Now y ou can enter a sweepstakes through Bing Rewards for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There's the winged sprint car, the midget entry and the Silver Crown machine. The rainbow-colored Chevrolets are on the other side of the room, separated by years and a handful of small tables adorned with No. 24 racing memorabilia. But the car that catches his eye is the white Pontiac stock car. It's the No. 67 and other than the Outback Steakhouse logo across the hood, it's vanilla plain by today's standards. Jeff Gordon , a four-time NASCAR premier series champion, hasn't seen this car in probably two decades or more. But it was one of the few that helped kick-start his stock car racing career. "That's where I got my very first start," Gordon, 44, tells the crowd during Wednesday's opening of "24: A Tribute to Jeff Gordon " at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Racing folks know Jeff Gordon the NASCAR star. They know the Hendrick Motorsports driver that, paired with crew chief Ray Evernham, was a force in the series throughout the 1990s. But before he was champion, before he began piling up wins (he's at 92 and counting), he was Jeff Gordon the former open-wheel racer who wanted to try his hand in stock cars. And the No. 67 was where it all began. "There are some incredible stories that belong to that car," said Gordon. "But most importantly was I sat on the outside front row at Rockingham in that car and the rest is kind of history. That's what led to the phone call from (team owner) Bill Davis which … led to the phone call from Rick Hendrick and here we are today." Impressed with Gordon's efforts during a stint at the Buck Baker Driving School, team owner Hugh Connerty offered the youngster a chance to drive his car in what’s now the XFINITY Series. That took place in 1990. Gordon made three attempts, failing to qualify at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway . In between, at Rockingham, he qualified the car on the outside of the front row. "Unfortunately I have the kind of memory that goes immediately to I remember wrecking on Lap 23," said Gordon. "We actually tried to run at Charlotte first; qualifying got rained out. We were pretty fast. I knew the car had good speed in it. Then we went to Rockingham and I knew it had good speed in it that day, but we weren't anywhere close to thinking we were going to be on the outside front row. Laid down a great lap and I think everyone was surprised. "Even today if you really think about it, if somebody comes along and they're not in one of the top cars or with one of the top teams out there, you've not heard a lot about them, and all of a sudden they wind up on the front row, it's going to draw your attention and you're going to wonder who this person is. "For me I was fortunate that wrecking on Lap 23 didn't take away from being on the front row. I just remember getting some huge phone calls after that. I didn't realize how big it was as the time, I knew I was excited that we were on the front row, but I had no idea what it was going to do for my career." The exhibit, which features nine cars raced by Gordon during his career, is scheduled to run through Jan. 10 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
RELATED: Full practice results Wheeling his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet at 193.500 mph, Kevin Harvick surged to the top of the leaderboard during Thurday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Matt Kenseth 's late lap of 192.892 mph sent his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing ride to the second spot on the leaderboard. Roush Fenway Racing 's Greg Biffle also made a late lap, his No. 16 ride clocking a third-best speed of 192.885 mph. Team Penske 's Joey Logano used a fast lap of 192.458 mph to snag the fourth spot, while Kasey Kahne propelled the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at 192.321 mph to round out the top five. Having paced the field for the majority of practice, Ryan Blaney settled into eighth by the session's end, rounding the 1.5-mile North Carolina track at 192.048 mph. Kyle Busch was the slowest among the 12 Chase Contenders, coming in at 21st-fastest with a top pace of 191.049 mph.
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman and Chuck Bush give you a tour of the Sprint Cup Series garage at Richmond International Raceway.
Cutting-edge technology and a spirit for change intersected on Wednesday at Pikes Peak International Raceway as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr . gave rides in an adaptive stock car to paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals. Volunteers from Furniture Row Racing helped transform a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car (in this case the No. 78 Chevrolet SS) into an adaptive vehicle for people to drive if they have spinal cord injuries and disabilities. It was all part of the Falci Adaptive Motorsports NeuroGroove RaceDay at the 1-mile track in Fountain, Colorado. "What an awesome day to be a firsthand witness to some incredible technology," Truex said in a team release. "Life is about giving back and Dr. (Scott) Falci and his partners are doing just that. To see the joy of the individuals I gave a ride to was very inspirational." Denver resident Stewart Lundy, a paraplegic, was one of the riders who got a chance to whiz around the track with Truex in the adaptive car. "And he (Truex) gets paid to do this!" Lundy said. "I need to reassess my life goals. That is probably one of them now. I loved every minute of it -- I'm coming down from an Adrenaline high." Falci Adaptive Motorsports is working to add racing as another adapted sport for the spinal cord and disabled population. Dr. Scott Falci is a neurosurgeon at Denver's Craig Hospital and he and his partners are spearheading the effort. One of the highlights of the day was a demonstration of smart glasses technology that enables individuals to drive a car or wheelchair with head movement. "Dr. Falci and his partners are developing life-changing technology, and we are thrilled to be involved in this altruistic endeavor," said Joe Garone, president and general manager of Furniture Row Racing .