Jeff Gordon finished a solid 7th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and built a small cushion over the Chase cutoff with one race to go before the next round. Gordon started his NASCAR record-setting 789th consecutive race, which broke Ricky Rudd’s Iron Man record.
Gordon started 10th and battled handling issues at the outset. He slipped to 12th by lap 15. The first caution came on lap 37 for Aric Almirola’s cut tire and wall contact. After chassis adjustments, Gordon restarted in 14th place on lap 42. He moved up to 11th on lap 47, just before a caution for Landon Cassill’s power steering leak. Gordon ran 12th when the caution waved on lap 60 for Tony Stewart’s cut tire. Gordon came to pit road for a 2-tire change and restarted in 25th place. He gained spots after the restart on drivers who hadn’t pitted and ran in 18th place on lap 80. Gordon advanced to 15th by the time the next caution waved on lap 120 for Alex Bowman’s wall impact. Pit stops followed with Gordon restarting in 18th place. At the halfway point, Gordon ran in 14th place.
A caution for Kyle Busch’s wall contact brought out the caution on lap 160. Gordon came to pit road in 13th place and restarted in 11th. However, he slipped back to 17th after the restart when he was caught in the middle line. He regrouped over the next 10 laps and ran in 13th place on lap 175. Gordon advanced to 11th before a debris caution on lap 190. Pit stops followed with Gordon losing 4 spots and restarting 15th. He gained a spot when Jimmie Johnson pitted with a flat tire. On lap 205. the day’s hardest crash occurred when Danica Patrick, following contact from Ryan Newman, backed into the wall and collected David Ragan. The melee allowed Gordon to move into 12th place. After the restart, Gordon slipped to 13th before a caution for Brett Moffitt’s spin. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 14th place with 86 to go. He held 14th until a caution for Justin Allagaier’s cut tire with 63 laps to go. Gordon came to pit road and restarted in 20th place. With 50 to go, Gordon moved up to 16th place. He followed Jimmie Johnson around slower cars and ran 13th with 45 to go. Gordon re-entered the top-10 with a move around Dale Earnhardt Jr with 38 to go. He took 9th from Kasey Kahne with 29 to go. As drivers ran out of fuel, Gordon picked up two more spots in the closing laps to finish in 7th place. It was his best finish at Loudon since 2012.
“It was tough to pass today, and this place is always tough to pass. We started further off than we expected, but I have to give everybody on this team a lot of credit. They worked hard and made some big adjustments and brought the car to life. We just need some long green flag runs. We had a couple of restarts that didn’t go well, and some pit stops where the sequence wasn’t great. But there at the end, that last one helped us. We had a long green flag run. We had a decent restart and were able to pick off cars. Of course, a couple of cars ran out of fuel as well. It was a good way to close out the day.”
“You know Kevin Harvick’s going to be on a tear, and maybe Kyle Busch. Those guys have had some unfortunate circumstances, but they’re so fast and capable of winning next week at Dover. We’ve got to go there and be solid. We won there last year. I’d love to be able to go back and repeat that. We’re going to fight hard. We have a little bit of a [points] cushion, but not enough of a cushion where we can run easy.”
source: Jeff Gordon Online
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Jeff Gordon New Hampshire Photos
Jeff Gordon New Hampshire