Every day here at Bleacher Report, we'll be counting down the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup by posting two driver previews, breaking down how they got in and what they're going to do with their berth. Today, we start with the two wild card seeds: Kasey Kahne (11th) and Jeff Gordon (12th).
JEFF GORDON, #24, Drive to End Hunger/DuPont Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
CHASE POSITION: 12th, 2000 points (1 win, Wild Card)
MAKING THE CHASE: Gordon slipped into the Chase at the very last opportunity, finishing a strong second place at Atlanta to build momentum before scoring another runner-up finish at Richmond to steal the second Wild Card spot from Kyle Busch.
LAST 10 RACES: After starting the Race to the Chase 18th in points, Gordon ripped off seven finishes of sixth or better in the past 10 races to claw his way in. Despite sub-20 finishes at both Watkins Glen at Michigan, Gordon's other finishes were good enough for a 10-race average of 8.5.
LAST YEAR'S CHASE: Gordon finished sixth or better in three of the last four races last year, but five finishes outside of the top 20 relegated him to a disappointing eighth in the standings.
AT CHASE TRACKS: Martinsville is Gordon's place to shine, as he's scored seven wins and a 7.1 average finish there in 39 starts. He's only got career average finishes worse than 15.0 at two Chase tracks: Charlotte (15.7, although he has five wins there) and Texas (16.2).
OUTLOOK: Much like Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, Gordon dug himself a hole early in the season and had to climb out of it. From 24th in points at Darlington to a Chase position now, Gordon has done the work to earn his shot at the title.
The question, of course, is whether or not the No. 24 team used up all of their magic just making it into the 10-race playoff, or if there's something left.
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