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“It’s pretty familiar to us. Maybe not quite at this level,” Gordon said when asked if he can remember a more maddening season. “I think we were further back than 10th at this point last year than we are now. So, obviously last year things didn’t go so well. I would point out this year and then 2000…

“It wasn’t quite like dealing with some of the things we’ve had this year. Yeah, you know, it’s certainly been frustrating.”

Crew chief Alan Gustafson won’t consider the idea that the team is snake-bit, but he concedes that weird things have happened more often than expected this season. At the same time, he sees hope in how the car and its driver have been performing in recent weeks, citing a third at Dover and 12th at Pocono as examples.

“There are times it just goes easy and I feel like we can get on a roll,” he said. “We seem to be gaining a little pace.”

Gordon said the main thing is keeping morale up through the struggles, which hasn’t been easy. Last year proved that the team can recover, and he hopes that provides a template to follow.

“We have high expectations put on us,” Gordon said. “We know the pressure that comes along with that to perform. And when we don’t, the criticism comes with that.

“But I also know that nobody is more capable of pulling ourselves out of a hole and getting back on track than this team. It’s Hendrick Motorsports. It’s the No. 24 team and we have the capability of being very, very strong and getting on a roll.”