The 2013 NASCAR season has started slow for Jeff Gordon. While two of his teammates, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne have won races and another, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has spent time leading the points standings, Gordon and the No. 24 team stumbled coming out of the gate, failing to finish within the top five through the first five races.

That has all changed now, as Gordon heads to Texas Motor Speedway on the heels of his first top-five finish of the season this past Sunday at Martinsville. Gordon is now 12th in the points standings and would the eligible for the Chase for the Championship if the field were to be set today.

“We needed the points. We needed a good, solid run,” Gordon told media after the race.

Gordon earned his finish by overcoming some late-race adversity. After being a top-five car for the first half of the race, a pit stop miscue dropped Gordon as far back as 19th. But Gordon rallied, making his way through the field to pick up the third-place finish. 

Gordon’s finish of third on Sunday is certainly a welcome sign for the No. 24 team as it heads into a critical stretch of various types of tracks that will be a major factor in his ability to be in position to move toward the top of the points standings heading into the summer months.

The next four races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series consist of two 1.5-mile tracks with Texas and Kansas, a restrictor plate track at Talladega and a short track in Richmond. Three of these tracks are part of the Chase, so there’s obviously incentive to run strong at these venues as well. 

Eye-catching Finish For Patrick

Since her strong showing at Daytona, Danica Patrick has had trouble replicating her success in the season-opener, where she won the pole position, led laps and finished in the top-10. She may have surpassed that on Sunday. In her first race at Martinsville, Patrick finished 12th after starting from the rear of the field.

This came at a Martinsville track that has gotten the best of some of racing’s top drivers in their first start there. Of the drivers currently in the top 10 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, just two, Greg Biffle and Brad Keselowski, finished in the top 20 their first Cup race at Martinsville, with the best showing of the two being Keselowski’s 12th-place finish.

The Fans Say

So, what do the fans think of what happened this week? Well, here’s a sampling, courtesy of some of our Facebook fans...

"Wahoo another win for Jimmie. Keep it up."

"I want to hear what the Danica haters have to say now."

Who’s Up and Who’s Down?

Up...

Paul Menard
He is currently eighth in the points standings. That ranks him the highest among all Richard Childress Racing drivers.

Mark Martin
In what ended up being a one-off deal with Joe Gibbs Racing, Martin overcame starting near the rear of the field and a wheel coming off his car to salvage of a 10th-place finish.

Down...

Ryan Newman
Newman’s feast-or-famine season continues. Mechanical issues forced him to a 31st place finish at Martinsville. Newman has three top-10 finishes and three finishes of 30th or worse.