Jeff Gordon and the #24 battled through adversity at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and seemed poised for a top-5 finish. However, a flat tire on the final lap doomed their chances as Gordon finished 11th. He led 19 laps during the race, but a battery change at the halfway point put him a lap down. Gordon battled back and was running 4th on the final lap before the tire went down. Due to the battery issues, Gordon cut the cooling system in the car, which resulted in late race cramping in his legs. He battled through race traffic several times during the event, but did not have the finish to show for the superb effort.
Gordon started 7th and dropped a spot in the opening laps. However, as the tire pressures came up, he took positions from Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Burton to move up to 6th on lap 8. Gordon moved into the top-5 on lap 29, just before a debris caution slowed the field. Pit stops followed with Gordon departing in 7th place after a two-tire change. He dropped to 9th within a lap of the restart, but regrouped as the run progressed. He moved back into 7th on lap 43 with a pass on Brad Keselowski. Gordon moved into the top-5 on lap 50, and took 4th from Burton on lap 53. Kyle Busch’s cut tire brought a caution period and pit stops. Gordon restarted 16th on lap 65, but was hindered by traffic and dropped to 19th. Gordon patiently made his way back and moved to 12th within 10 laps. He re-entered the top-10 on lap 80 and moved up to 6th when a debris caution slowed the field on lap 99. Gordon opted for 2 tires and restarted in 5th place on lap 105. He lost spots at the outset, but regained the positions on the longer run. On lap 120, he moved into the 4th position with a pass on Kurt Busch. He took 3rd from Burton two laps later, and the runner-up spot from Jimmie Johnson on lap 123. Gordon took the race lead from Kasey Kahne on lap 127. He opened a 3-second lead before a caution on lap 145 for Keselowski’s cut tire. Crew chief Alan Gustafson opted for a four-tire change and Gordon restarted in 10th place.
On the restart, Gordon lost power and dropped to 35th. He switched batteries in the car and regained power. A caution for fluid on the track on lap 160 allowed Gordon to come to pit road and the crew swapped batteries. He lost a lap in the process and restarted 34th on lap 165. A caution for Denny Hamlin’s spin on lap 171 allowed Gordon to get back on the lead lap. He moved to 27th by lap 180 and was up to 24th when Mark Martin spun after cutting a tire. Gordon avoid his teammate’s spin and restarted 15th after staying on the track during the caution period. On lap 200, he took 11th from Kasey Kahne and closed in on the top-10. He passed Kevin Harvick for 10th on lap 204, and advanced to 6th when a debris caution waved on lap 215. Gordon restarted 17th after a tire change and moved to 11th on lap 225. During a caution flag for Brian Vickers’ wreck, Gordon came to pit road for the final time to top off with fuel and restarted 23rd with 70 laps to go. He re-entered the top-15 with 60 to go, just as caution slowed the field for Johnson’s spin. He stayed on the track and restarted 8th with 55 laps to go. He entered the top-5 on lap 249 and moved to 4th with 37 laps to go. With 18 laps to go, Tony Stewart took 4th from Gordon — which essentially ended his hopes for a victory. Gordon moved back into 4th by passing Kurt Busch two laps later. However, the day took its toll as he experienced leg cramping in the late stages due to cutting off in-car equipment to save battery voltage. Gordon came across the line in 11th place.
Road ahead: The series takes a week off before heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Gordon will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after Loudon as part of his work with the Clinton Global Initiative. Gordon will tour a refugee camp to get a firsthand look at the problems impacting the refugees in the Congo.
MP3 Download – with spotter chatter
New Hampshire Pit Stop
In the turn