Ugly Top 10 Keeps Jeff Gordon in title hunt

As poorly as Jeff Gordon’s car was handling on Sunday during his last run at Kansas Speedway, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet was in danger of losing touch with the top contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

But Gordon persevered, salvaging a 10th-place finish that left him sixth in the Chase standings — but with no margin for error as the series moves to Talladega next Sunday.

“We were absolutely as far off as you could be,” Gordon said of his balky Chevy. “I don’t know. The thing qualified amazing, and ever since we put it in race trim, it just is not comfortable, hasn’t felt good, and we’ve struggled with it.

“That was one of the hardest top 10s I’ve ever had to go through. I’m proud of the team. They fought hard, and that’s why we’re where we’re at. But, gosh, that was ugly.”

In all likelihood, Gordon will need to avoid disaster at Talladega to advance to the Eliminator 8 Round of the Chase.

“Every point means something — it just doesn’t mean anything as far as our approach for Talladega next week,” Gordon said. “I’m real confident in our race cars and our race team. I’m excited about our chances at actually winning there.

“I just don’t like the chances of being in a wreck, because they are usually high, but we’re going to go and approach it where we are going to be aggressive and race hard. We’ll just see where the points end up.”