FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jeff Gordon acknowledges that most of his answers will be similar when asked about his championship chances, usually along the lines of wait and see what happens.
Gordon is just glad the tone of the questions has changed with three races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"Man, the thing is, I love just the fact that we're in the conversation right now," Gordon said Friday. " I'm just excited that we're not talking about me retiring and what changes need to happen to our team. I mean, you've got to understand those are the conversations and questions I've been getting asked most of the season and I understand. Our results and our stats have not been good enough to have any other questions be asked."
Gordon has certainly made the most of getting an unprecedented 13th spot in the Chase. The four-time Cup champion has moved up to a season-high third in points going into Sunday's race at Texas, the high-banked, 1½-mile track with which he has admittedly had a love-hate relationship.
After getting his first victory of the season last weekend at Martinsville, Gordon moved within 27 points of Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.
"We're not going into anything hoping or wishing anything bad on anybody. We're just proud to be where we're at, and just hope that we can keep that up," Gordon said. "We've got momentum, we've got a lot of excitement within the team, we're going to the race track having fun. "
Gordon qualified eighth at Texas, and will start behind both Johnson and Kenseth.
Carl Edwards, the only three-time Cup winner at Texas, earned the pole with a qualifying lap of 196.114 mph. Johnson was third at 195.943, even brushing the wall coming hard out of the fourth turn, and Kenseth was sixth at 195.518.
"I was committed to the throttle off of Turn 4 and just kind of ran out of room," Johnson said. "And I hate to admit it, but at one point I think I had my eyes shut because I knew there was going to be contact. I just didn't know how much. But, I just grazed the wall and scratched the sticker for the bumper cover and tail light on the back of the car."
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