CUP: Tuesday NASCAR Notebook

GORDON AND PEARSON – Jeff Gordon is on the heels of another of NASCAR’s all-time greats.

When he finished third in Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, Gordon notched his 299th top-five run in a Sprint Cup race. He’s now only two top fives from tying Hall of Famer David Pearson for third all-time on that list.

Crew chief Alan Gustafson said the No. 24 team continues to expand its knowledge base with the Gen-6 car.

"As crazy as it sounds, things we learned at Martinsville can help at Texas (this week)," said Gustafson. "Right now, everything is so new to us that we are learning every week.

"I think we've learned at every track we've run on this year. At Las Vegas – as bad as that was for us, it's a piece of the puzzle. You can't shy away from your struggles because it's information that you can use to your benefit. The more time you spend on intermediate tracks the better you understand what is important – and what isn't important – to focus on.”

A super-fast intermediate test awaits in Saturday night’s 500-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway.

FIVE-TIME WILL BE TWO-TIME DAD – Jimmie Johnson tweeted Tuesday that he and wife, Chandra, are expecting their second child in September. "We are so happy to share news that we're having another baby in September," Johnson posted. "Genevieve is so excited to be a big sister!”

LARSON DOING DOUBLE DUTY – Young phenom Kyle Larson is scheduled to make his first attempt at a NASCAR major-series double-duty weekend this week.

Larson is entered in Friday’s O’Reilly 300 Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway and in Sunday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 Camping World Truck Series race at Rockingham Speedway.

"I'm used to running more than one race in a weekend, so this weekend will be pretty standard for me," Larson said. "Turner Scott Motorsports gave me great Silverados last season in the four starts I made for them, so I'm really excited for the opportunity to run the Nationwide race on Friday and then hop on a plane to Rockingham for the Truck Series race.

"I'm really excited to get back to Texas after the successful test we had last week. We'll have the same Camaro we had at Las Vegas, which was really fast for us there. I think the grooves will widen as the race goes on, and I've watched a lot of previous races to get a good feel for how it'll be at the end of the night."

PATRICK’S NUMBER – Danica Patrick’s 12th-place finish in her first race at Martinsville Speedway generated positive reaction from those who expected her to do much worse and negative reaction from those who say she remains a low achiever.

It’s worth noting that several top drivers scored poorer finishes than Patrick in their Martinsville debuts – Tony Stewart 20th, Jimmie Johnson 35th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 26th, Kyle Busch 39th, Matt Kenseth 21st, Kurt Busch 37th.

TEXAS HISTORY – If past results mean anything, look for drivers in the top level of the Sprint Cup standings to add significantly to their point totals this week at Texas.

Of the drivers in the top 12 in points, seven have won at Texas, and four – Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth – have multiple victories at the 1.5-mile track.

Edwards is the victory leader at TMS with three.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.