Next stop on the trail? This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, where efforts to cut the deficit will be on Jeff Gordon and Team DuPont's minds.
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Gordon has had strong runs in 2012, but an engine issue, pit road miscues and accidents have resulted in poor finishes. He currently sits 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings - 90 out of the lead - entering Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500.
"This race is one that is on our radar," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont "20 Years" Chevrolet. "We ran well at California a few weeks ago, so that has me excited going to the one-and-a-half mile tracks."
At California, Gordon started 21st and improved to fourth without the aid of a caution before pit road miscues/penalties resulted in a 26th-place finish in the rain-shortened event. At Martinsville, Gordon led a race-high 329 laps and was leading with three laps to go when a caution waved. On the restart, contact sent the No. 24 Impala spinning. To add insult to injury, Gordon ran out of fuel during "overtime," lost a lap and finished 14th.
"It's frustrating, but that's the way our year has been going," said Gordon. "If we keep bringing good cars to the track, we'll put a complete race together.
"Right now, it's just about putting the whole race together. It's about having the car that we need and limiting our mistakes."
While he may be 90 markers out of the lead, there are two other "cutoff" points of interest to Gordon. He is 53 points outside of the top 10 and one of the guaranteed spots to make the "NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup." The 85-time winner is also only seven points out of the top 20, and two "wildcard" spots in the Chase will be awarded to drivers from positions 11 - 20 with the most wins after race No. 26 in September.
"That is the beauty of the Chase - we are still in it," said Gordon, who has a lone win (2009), two poles, seven top-fives and 10 top-10 finishes in 22 starts at "The Lone Star State" track. "We just have to focus on winning races right now. We can't focus on trying to be in the top-10 in points. If we win races we might get there.
"But if we win races, we will be in (the Chase). A lot of people might think, 'Well how are they ever going to win a race because look at where they are in points.' I don't think we're that far from winning races. We just have to eliminate the mistakes.
"And we have a lot of races left to be able to pull that off."