LONG POND, Pa. – Jeff Gordon made his last win at Pocono a family affair.

It was a win to savor. His 86th career victory was the first time his wife and both of his two young children joined him in a Victory Lane celebration.

But his Pocono run also thrust Gordon into wild-card contention for the Chase, and he finished 10th in the final standings.

Fast forward a season. Gordon enters Pocono still looking for his first win of this season and hoping to hold on to his precarious 10th-place spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.

And he again can make it another win to remember. Once the dominant “Rainbow Warrior,” Gordon turns 42 on Sunday, long removed from the era when he was always the driver to beat at any track.

But the birthday boy still knows how to drive — and he hasn’t forgotten how to win. What he’s still chasing is that elusive fifth Cup championship, 11 years after he celebrated his last one.

Gordon would love to make another championship push in the No. 24 — as long as he can stay in the field.

“I feel like last year we showed a little bit more speed up to this point and I felt like all we needed were some breaks to go our way, and a few slight changes to get ourselves in,” Gordon said. “This year we just can’t seem to really get ahold of it.”

He needs to figure it out, fast.

Gordon holds the 10th and final locked-in spot in the 12-driver Chase field. Here’s where it gets tricky: He’s just a point ahead of Tony Stewart, five points ahead of Martin Truex Jr. and six points ahead of Brad Keselowski. Should Gordon fall out of the top 10, he’ll be on the outside of the Chase.

“Every year we have gone through this, it’s a different kind of stress level,” he said. “There are stress levels of meeting your full potential, there are stress levels of trying to not let some silly thing happen, or there is the stress level of one little incident.”

Gordon worked fast Saturday to defuse a silly incident when one his comments about fan turnout for the NASCAR race at Pocono compared to the crowd at the IndyCar race at the track was taken as a shot at the open- wheel series.

“I am very, very appreciative of this sport and this series that we are in because when you drive in that tunnel for an IndyCar race, and you drive in here for a NASCAR race, you get a perspective of how big our sport is,” he said Friday.

Gordon made the remarks after he said how much he loved attending the Pocono IndyCar race last month as a fan and how “very cool” the open-wheel cars are.

On Saturday, Gordon tweeted his love for both series: “I love (hash)IndyCar just wanted to recognize how fortunate we are to get the crowds that we get in (at)NASCAR.”

Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan said it was wrong of Gordon to pick on the series. Kanaan called Gordon on Saturday to smooth out the misunderstanding.

“I apologized to him. I understood his comment and I think he understood mine,” Kanaan said. “It wasn’t like I was trying to pick a fight. He came to Pocono. I gave him a gecko. He came to Brazil. We’re friends. I just want to make sure we’re all right and we’ll laugh about it. It’s over.”

Now it’s time to race.

No driver has done it better at Pocono than Gordon. His six wins are the most at the 2½-mile triangle track. He’ll start 22nd on Sunday.