Gordon Magical In New England

8781Jpg
Share:
LOUDON, N.H. – The last time Jeff Gordon finished outside the Top 10 in two straight races, he went on to reel off a string of impressive finishes.

He’s hoping history will repeat itself. Gordon got off to a good start by winning the pole Friday for Sunday’s New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a fast lap of 131.770 mph.

“It’s certainly good for the team, good for morale to have the type of day that we had today,” Gordon said. “I never was thrilled with the car all day, but we kept working on it, working on it. And then, boom, we went out there and picked up a tenth and a half and got the pole.

“That means a lot to me, means a lot to the team. It gets us pretty fired up. Anything we can do to bounce back from Daytona or Chicago, whether it’s qualifying or being fast in practice, those are all good things. This is a good morale booster for the team. It’s important for us to get back on track as quickly as we can. You have enough tough weekends, and it will start to weigh on you.”

Gordon crashed at Daytona and finished 37th, then had engine problems that left him 17th last week at Chicago. What was a 126-point lead before Daytona is gone, as Gordon and Dale Jarrett are tied for first place in the Winston Cup standings.

“You can say, ‘Boy those last two weekends you’ve had are pretty tough and lost a lot of points,’ ” Gordon said. “But at the same time I look it and say, ‘For having as bad a weekends as we had the past two weeks and still be leading the points – technically – that’s pretty good to me.

“We know we’ve got a great team and we’ve got good, strong cars. We’re going to a lot of tracks that we run well at. We’re excited about the second half of the season. It’s kind of like a basketball or football game. You really just wait to get to the fourth quarter. We’re still not at the fourth quarter.”

In April, Gordon was 12th at Martinsville and 27th at Talladega. But he bounced back to finish third or better in seven of the next eight races, including three victories.

And after finishing 37th at Daytona and 17th at Chicago, Gordon lost his grip on the points lead.

“We’ve got a lot of racing left to go,” Gordon said. “To think that a pole is giving me an edge toward the championship at this point in the season is a little crazy. What I’m more excited about is that we are on the pole for this particular event. This is a good place to have good track position and to get a good place to pit the car. We came in here trying to bounce back from a down weekend in Chicago – and trying to get good track position for this race.”

Mark Martin qualified second at 131.724 mph, a hundredth of a second slower than Gordon. Jeremy Mayfield was third, with Bobby Hamilton and Steve Park rounding out the Top 5. The rest of the Top 10 were: Todd Bodine, Robert Pressley, Ken Schrader, Jarrett and Jeff Burton.

Kevin Harvick, last week’s winner at Chicagoland Speedway, was 24th, then quickly departed the track for Madison, Ill., the site of this weekend’s Busch Series race. Defending race champion Tony Stewart qualified 25th.

Ricky Rudd – who is third in the points standings – was 14th. Robby Gordon, subbing for the injured Mike Skinner, was the last car to make it on speed, qualifying 36th.

Winston Cup drivers were supposed to make only one qualifying lap at NHIS, but NASCAR decided to give them two laps. Gordon’s first lap was fastest, but many other drivers went quicker on their second.

”I underestimated the sealer myself,” Gordon said. “There was no reason for us to run two laps. One lap was fine. You had instant grip just as soon as you left pit road. They jumped the gun a little bit on that.”

The track surface had a sealer applied to it in the offseason, but speeds weren’t that much slower than 2000, when Rusty Wallace set the track record at 132.089 mph. Speeds were much faster than last September’s race, where a restrictor plate was used to slow the cars down after Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin died here last summer.

“The sealer is definitely a step in the right direction,” Martin said. “This paving job never has been quite all it could have been. The first two times we raced up here, the asphalt came apart, rutted in the tire tracks. Then they put something on it in the corners that was like, ugh, I don’t know what it was. After that, you never could hardly race around it.

“This sealer is just awesome. After all the races this weekend, the groove will wear down, and you’ll start moving up, moving up, moving up the race track. My hope is that you’ll be able to pass here in a racing pass. I believe you may see the best race you’ve ever seen at New Hampshire this weekend.”

Photos

  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • Sprint Cup Series Awards
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
  • 2016 Champion's Week
Click to View More

Advertisement

You may unsubscribe at any time.
Motor Racing Network
555 MRN Drive
Concord, NC 28027
www.mrn.com/Footer/Contact-Us.aspx
(704)262-6700
feedback@mrn.com
  • © 2016 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites