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Gordon slowly moving up in Chase standings

Associated Press Published: October 10, 2012

"We were really good early in that race, and twice we had to come up through the field," said Gordon.

Gordon believes the strength his team showed in the May race and the improvement of crew chief Alan Gustafson's cars over the course of the season has him in position for a strong run Saturday night.

"I think we can be even stronger this weekend because our setups are better now," he said. "I am really looking forward to this weekend's race — this is as excited as I've been heading into Charlotte in quite a while. We had a good car here earlier this year and we've had some strong runs recently. We just need to continue to run in the top five and be in position to battle for the win at the end of the race."

But it still may not be enough to close any ground on the championship leaders. It's taken Gordon three strong finishes to move from 12th in the standings to sixth, and his biggest jump came Sunday after Talladega, when he gained four spots.

The competition in front of him is tough.

Keselowski has two Chase wins and was fifth at Charlotte in May. Johnson is a six-time Charlotte winner who made the track his personal playground from 2003-06. Denny Hamlin is winless at Charlotte, but has seven top-10s in 14 career starts.

And Kahne, who shares a shop at Hendrick Motorsports with Gordon, ranks among the top active drivers at Charlotte over the last 10 races. He's won there four times, too.

Gordon, though, is only focused on what he alone can do on the track.

"We've finally been getting the finishes to match the strong runs we've had during races this year," said Gordon. "If we continue to do that, we'll continue to move up in the standings."