Hendrick 'behind' Gibbs entering NASCAR's Chase, drivers admit

Hendrick Motorsports goes into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase behind the recently-dominant Joe Gibbs Racing cars on pace, admit multiple champions Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon

Hendrick 'behind' Gibbs entering NASCAR's Chase, drivers admit

Although Johnson is ostensibly the Chase's top seed by virtue of a higher 'regular season' points score than fellow four-time race-winners Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, his last victory was in May, whereas JGR's Toyotas have triumphed in eight of the last 11 races.

"We're behind. We know that. Those guys are unbelievable," said Gordon of the Gibbs team.

"But there's a lot of ways to make it to Homestead and there's a lot that can happen.

"We're working as hard as anybody to try to see what we can do better, learn from our competitors, and try to catch up, but we're definitely playing catch-up."

Johnson pointed out that he has often struggled mid-season before rallying to win titles in the past, but admitted Hendrick needed to find a step forward.

"We haven't had the pace that we've wanted as a group, certainly for the #48," he said.

"Summers have always been tough at the 48 car. We're getting ready to go to a lot of tracks that have been the bread and butter for our race team.

"We know we have the equipment, just a matter of putting the mouse trap together the right way."

Gordon made the Chase via his points score, having not yet won a race in his farewell campaign.

"There was a lot of pressure in this final season to make that Chase, so I'm glad we got that done," he said.

But reigning champion Kevin Harvick - whose Stewart-Haas team runs Hendrick equipment - is not fazed by Gibbs' form.

"Hopefully they'll be peaky like they normally are and we can capitalise on the solid momentum we've had throughout the last two years and do what we have to do," he said.

"I feel like we're as good as any team out there. I feel like we can beat any team on any given day if it all goes our way.

"It's not about stats or what's pretty or not pretty, it's about three weeks and making it to the next round, three weeks, making it to the next round, trying to get yourself in position for Homestead.

"We've been in pressure situations, we've succeeded in both of them at the end of the year and we've been there, done that.

"I didn't see anybody around us do the same thing."

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