Jeff Gordon seemed to be in control of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He led more than 30 laps as the race approached 100 laps to go. However, a costly mistake on pit road dropped Gordon back to 22nd place. He slid through the pit box onto the white line and had to back up. In the final stages, Gordon moved from 22nd up to 15th to salvage the day. He trails race winner and points leader Matt Kenseth by 42 — the equivalent of a full race.
Gordon started 3rd and took the runner-up spot from Ryan Newman at the end of lap 3. He held the spot until the competition caution on lap 30. After taking two tires, Gordon made contact on pit road with David Ragan who was entering his stall. The contact wrinkled the sheet metal in front of Gordon’s right front tire. He restarted in 6th place on lap 34 and quickly moved to 5th by lap 35. Two laps later the caution waved for a wreck involving Jamie McMurray and Kevin Swindell. On the restart, Gordon fell to 7th on the inside line. Bobby Labonte’s cut tire and subsequent crash brought out the caution on lap 52. Gordon moved to 6th after the next restart and took 5th from Brad Keselowski on lap 62. Twenty laps later he advanced to 4th with a move around Newman. Gordon assumed the lead on lap 110 during a green flag pit stop sequence. He came to pit road one lap later for a four-tire change.
Followng the stops, Gordon cycled through in 5th place behind Keselowski. At the halfway point, Gordon advanced to 4th by passing Kasey Kahne. A caution on lap 164 brought the lead lap cars to pit road. Gordon’s crew opted for two tires and restarted with the race lead. A debris caution with 100 to go slowed the field. Gordon slid through his pit box to the white line and needed to back up prior to a four-tire pit stop. He restarted back in 22nd place with 95 to go. He re-entered the top-20 with 85 laps to go and took 19th from Juan Pablo Montoya with 83 to go. Gordon had moved to 16th when the caution waved for David Gilliland’s engine with 55 laps to go. The #24 crew changed right side tires and Gordon restarted in 14th place. He moved to 13th just before Kahne crashed on the frontstretch — which effectively destroyed his teammate’s Chase hopes. On the restart, Gordon was caught in the middle line and dropped to 20th place with 40 laps to go. He steadily gained spots back and finished the race in 15th place.
Gordon came to pit road with the race lead with 99 laps to go, but slid through his pit stall and dropped back to 22nd place on the track. The loss of track position ended his chances for a victory.
Source: Jeff Gordon Online
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