After his involvement in a frightening-looking wreck with Sam Hornish Jr. during Monday's rain-delayed Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International, Jeff Gordon says he's glad to have an “easy” track up this week in Michigan International Speedway.
Gordon got caught up when Hornish's Dodge slid into a tire barrier, then spun directly into the path of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. The violent hit certainly did not help Gordon's already aching lower back.
“My back is stiff, but I'll be fine and ready to go this weekend,” Gordon said. “Luckily, Michigan is up next and it's been pretty easy on my back in the past.”
The track has been good to Gordon generally. In 33 starts at the Irish Hills track, Gordon has two wins and five poles. Back in June, after starting from the rear of the field due to an engine change, Gordon finished second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin in the 400-mile event.
“We had a great car here in June and, after starting from the back, we were in position at the end of the race to battle for the win,” said Gordon, who is third in the standings, 342 points behind leader Tony Stewart. “We've performed well on the intermediate tracks this year, so we're definitely looking at this race as one we can lead laps, run in the top five and hopefully be in contention for the win.
“When it comes to qualifying here, the car means a lot but the driver has to push hard,” Gordon added. “This is a big, fast racetrack, so aerodynamics, mechanical grip, attitude and horsepower are pretty key. But once you get into the race and the car is starting to move around and the groove widens out, then the driver's role becomes greater. We'll have to search around for the groove that works best for our car. We have to make things happen.”