Jeff Gordon likes being part of the conversation with three races to go

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Jeff Gordon says most of his answers will be similar when asked about his Sprint Cup championship chances.

Jeff Gordon stops to sign autographs before Friday's qualifying in Texas. He finished eighth.  LM OTERO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
LM OTERO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jeff Gordon stops to sign autographs before Friday's qualifying in Texas. He finished eighth.

They will usually be along the lines of wait and see what happens.

The four-time Cup champion is just happy to be in the conversation with three races left. And it’s better than the questions he was getting earlier this season about retiring or what changes were needed for his team.

Since getting an unprecedented 13th spot in the Chase, he has moved up to a season-high third in points going into Sunday’s race at Texas. He won last weekend at Martinsville, Va.

Gordon, who is within 27 points of co-leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson, will start eighth after qualifying Friday in 195.171 mph.

Carl Edwards starts on the pole after a qualifying lap of 196.114 mph.

Johnson, one of Gordon’s teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, qualified third (195.943 mph), one row ahead of Kenseth, who was sixth (195.518 mph).

“We’re not going into anything hoping or wishing anything bad on anybody. We’re just proud to be where we’re at, and just hope that we can keep that up,” Gordon said. “We’ve got momentum, we’ve got a lot of excitement within the team, we’re going to the race track having fun.”

The 42-year-old Gordon won his last Cup title in 2001.

Johnson brushed the wall coming hard out of the fourth turn on his qualifying lap.

“I was committed to the throttle off of Turn 4 and just kind of ran out of room,” Johnson said. “And I hate to admit it, but at one point I think I had my eyes shut because I knew there was going to be contact. I just didn’t know how much. But, I just grazed the wall and scratched the sticker for the bumper cover and tail light on the back of the car.”

The 42-year-old Gordon won his last Cup title in 2001,


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