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Jeff Gordon: ‘We’re not where we want to be’ but adds ‘don’t ever count us out’

Irwin Tools Night Race - Practice

Irwin Tools Night Race - Practice

Gregory Shamus

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Jeff Gordon admits Hendrick Motorsports is missing speed with only three races left until the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

“We’re not where we want to be,’’ he said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

No Hendrick car has finished higher than 10th in each of the past two races. Hendrick cars have led only five laps - all by Gordon - since Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Daytona in July. Joe Gibbs Racing has won six of the past eight races. Team Penske has had a car finish first or second in five of the last six races.

“We know that we’re behind, I think we’re behind as an organization,’’ said Gordon, who has five Bristol wins but none in his last 25 starts at the half-mile track. “I think that if we can run to our potential … I think that we make the Chase. What happens when get in the Chase, who knows? You get a (points) reset. There are some tracks that are very good tracks for us in the Chase. Does that put us in the championship contender mode? I don’t know. We got a lot of work to do that.

“We’re missing some speed and we’re working hard to try and find it. It’s very competitive out there and some other organizations have gotten ahead of us and you don’t just find that overnight.’’

Gordon cited issues such as the brake line woes at Watkins Glen and getting caught in an incident at Indianapolis. He finished 41st at Watkins Glen and 42nd at Indy. Gordon, in his final Sprint Cup season, has four top-10 finishes in the last 10 races.

Many of the races lately have had aerodynamic packages that won’t be used in the Chase or run at tracks that won’t be used in determining this season’s champion. So how concerned is Gordon with the recent results?

“We’re realists,’’ said Gordon, who is in position to make the Chase despite being winless this season. “We see it. You can’t base it off Michigan and Indy, I’ll tell you that. Those packages are out the window and don’t show what we’re fully capable of or what anybody really has. But we’re still not where we need to be with the ’15 package. The one thing about Hendrick Motorsports is what makes us so great is the effort that we put in and the people we have are capable of doing a lot, don’t ever count us out.’’

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