Jeff Gordon says he will take an aggressive approach into the final five races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup to try to prevent Jimmie Johnson from running away with a fourth consecutive title.
The four-time champion moved up to third in the Chase standing last week following a fourth-place finish at Charlotte. He is currently 135 points off Johnson and only 45 behind veteran Mark Martin, who also drives a Hendrick Motorsports car.
Gordon believes he has little to lose relative to Johnson heading into the second half of the series playoff and that only taking an aggressive approach will give him any chance of beating Johnson.
"I will say the next five races, we are going to be extremely aggressive," said Gordon. "We've worked our way up to third in points. They have a pretty comfortable lead and how they race versus how we race is probably going to be a little bit different.
"I think that is the one advantage that we have right now is that we're far enough back to where we really don't have a whole lot to lose and it is sort of their championship to lose and we are going to race them hard. We are going to race them aggressive. But we are also going to respect the fact that we are teammates and there is a certain amount of respect that goes beyond just when you are racing other competitors out there. It is risk versus reward.
"Let's hope we get down to the final laps of this race or any race from here on out and we get to show just how hungry we are to win this championship."
Gordon hopes he can keep Johnson honest for the remaining races of the season, where he believes only a number of wins would allow him to overcome the points deficit to the reigning champion.
"If we just finish ahead of them by one or two positions, that is not going to win this championship," said Gordon. "We could do that every weekend and it is not going to win the championship. We pretty much have to win the next five races and do it that way or they are going to have to have trouble.
"Right now our focus is to go out and at least put some pressure on them to know that we are not just going to run around and finish second and that we can compete with them."
Gordon leads all active drivers in number of wins at Martinsville with seven, although the last win came four years ago. However, he has always finished in the top-5 at the half-mile track since then.