NASCAR Notebook: Gordon doesn't focus on one rival -- even at Martinsville
By: By Reid Spencer, Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Polesitter Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and spring 2008 Martinsville race winner Denny Hamlin have to be considered the favorites in Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville.
From Gordon's point of view, however, it's counterproductive to narrow the focus to one or two competitors. Nor is Gordon, the Cup series points leader, much of a believer in the "psych" factor, no matter how well his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet might be running.
"The mind game thing is not me," said Gordon, who was awarded the pole after rain washed out Friday's qualifying session at the .526-mile short track. "It's just not me. That car and our team and our performance speaks for itself. If that happens to distract guys because they look at the times and look at how good we are, then great.
"If we go out there and we win races and we're leading the points and that distracts them, that's great. But that's certainly not our goal or intention. Because of that, we don't do it on the flip side. Certainly we pay attention to who's fast and what we're capable of doing and who we're trying to beat each and every weekend, but it's never one guy."
NEWMAN: STEWART'S NO DUMMY
Purdue alumnus Ryan Newman is regarded as one of the most intelligent drivers in the garage.
So what does the driver of the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet think of his new owner, Tony Stewart, five races into the season?
"With all due respect, he's a lot smarter than I thought he was," Newman said. "I knew he was intelligent as a racecar driver, but from a business standpoint, a people standpoint -- not that I never gave him any credit -- I just didn't know how (much) to give him credit.
"I'd give him a lot more credit because of the things I've seen him do with the people around him. That's probably the biggest thing."
FINALLY -- A BREAK IN THE WEATHER
After two days of rain at Martinsville Speedway, the weather forecast for Sunday at Martinsville calls for sunny skies and temperatures approaching 70 degrees.
That bodes well for the sixth Cup race of the season, which is scheduled for 1 p.m.