BROOKLYN, Michigan -- Jeff Gordon may sit third in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series points standings, but he is not thinking about points as the series visits Michigan International Speedway for the GFS Marketplace 400.
Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has dropped from second to third in the standings and lost 231 points to leader Matt Kenseth over the past four races. In those four races, he has three finishes of 24th or worse and two wrecked race cars.
The string began at New Hampshire when Gordon led a race-high 133 laps before finishing 24th when their fuel strategy backfired. At Pocono, Gordon's day ended with a wreck in turn three and a 36th-place finish.
One week later, Gordon finished fourth in the Brickyard 400. Last Sunday at Watkins Glen, Gordon started from the pole but was spun out entering turn one on the first lap. By the final lap, he had maneuvered to third before running out of gas. Coasting to the line with a top-five in sight, Gordon spun into the wall 50 yards from the checkered flag after being hit from behind by Kevin Harvick. He finished a disappointing 33rd.
"This team has been putting in a solid effort each week but we just don't have the results to show for it," Gordon said. "We need to forget about the points and just concentrate on racing.
"We can't get down on ourselves. We just need to keep plugging away and the results will come."
Better results may come this weekend at Michigan, where Gordon has captured two wins, three poles, 14 top-fives and 16 top-10's in 21 career starts. His average starting position at the 2.0-mile speedway is 9.8 while his average finish is 7.0.
Fuel mileage may play a role in determining Sunday's winner. If a team can stretch fuel mileage, it is possible to complete the race with only three stops for fuel.
"Fuel strategy hasn't been on our side recently," Gordon said. "We favored the conservative approach at New Hampshire and it didn't work. We gambled at Watkins Glen and that didn't work.
"Hendrick Motorsports has one of the best engine programs in the sport. We just need to figure out the best fuel strategy."
With the correct fuel strategy, Gordon could be celebrating his 63rd career victory on Sunday.