Pit strategy pays off for No. 24 team, puts Gordon 10th in points RELATED: Updated Chase Grid standings " Complete results from Pocono LONG POND, Pa.-- Four-time premier series champion Jeff Gordon ended his Pocono Raceway career with a record-tying 20th top-five finish in his 46th start at the track. After sitting 16th with 10 laps to go, no one was more shocked than Gordon when he crossed the start/finish line bearing his name in third place as several cars on differing pit strategies ran out of fuel before the end. "Well, it would be a long, long list if we talked to a bunch of people in the grandstands and myself, and everybody on pit road and probably people watching at home to find out who was more surprised," Gordon said. "That was crazy." As he attempted to extend his track record win total to seven while also earning a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth, Gordon's team stayed out under the Lap 17 competition caution and climbed to second following a 10th-place qualifying effort. But five more cautions in the first half of the race found the No. 24 car in 16th at the midway mark. Gordon moved up to sixth place 10 laps later, but the seventh and final caution at Lap 93 dropped him outside of the top 15 again. "I'm not exactly sure where I started on that first restart but it was like 15th, 16th and I can't say I passed many cars," Gordon said. "We just kind of hovered around that area, wasn't real pleased with how our car was in traffic, and when we were up front we were pretty good, felt like we were a top-five car," Gordon said, echoing the comments of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who finished fourth. "But we played the fuel‑mileage strategy pretty early on and that lost us track position and we weren't able to climb our way up through there," Gordon continued. "And we continued to play that strategy and I'm proud of Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) for sticking with it. There at the end, we were one of the last ones to pit, which allowed us to run hard all the way to the finish, not having to conserve or save fuel." During the race, though, the strategy didn't inspire confidence in the driver, who never thought he would have earned a top-five finish or even his 32nd top-10 result, second-best to Mark Martin 's 34. "The script I had played out in my head was we were going to be 15th, so this one was way better than that," Gordon said. "For whatever reason, the last couple times we've been here, we've had decent race cars, not maybe the cars that we would have liked to have had, but cars far capable of better finishes than what we've had, have been getting, and just a lot of different circumstances not playing out. Some to our own credit and others just circumstances. "Today finally one went our way for a change, which is really nice to bounce back after last week's unfortunate incident where we lost so many points." Following a 42nd-place finish at Indianapolis, Gordon dropped to 11th place in the points standings. He bounced back to 10th after Pocono, encouraging Gordon in his quest to make the playoffs -- with five races until the start of the Chase -- and his hopes to make his drive for five championships. MORE: Gordon wrecks in final Indy appearance "As a team, even though we're not performing to the level we want to, we are performing well enough to make it into the Chase," Gordon said. "If you knew that you were going to finish between 10th and 15th every week here going forward, but just like what happened last week, you can't afford to have many 42nd-place finishes. That could be disastrous. There are no guarantees, and so you've got to gain all the points you can when you have the opportunity. We had that opportunity today; we did it." The series heads to Watkins Glen next Sunday for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), and Gordon believes he has a shot at tying Tony Stewart 's record of five wins on the road course after a stout effort in 2014 that found him racing road-course ace Marcos Ambrose for the lead until a mechanical failure dropped him to a 34th-place finish. "The one thing that's encouraging to me is last year I thought we were really strong there, and we had ... some kind of battery connection issue and we lost power, so we never saw it play out. That happened ‑‑ I think we were running second to Ambrose at the time. I'm encouraged by that. I'm looking forward to going back there. I know our aero package is a little bit different, but you know, I don't think it's that much different from what we had last year, so hopefully we can have another strong finish and performance there. That would be awesome. "We need them -- right now every race is so critical for us. We can't afford to have finishes like we had last week at Indy, and so we're going to have to attack and be on -- just marching forward to be aggressive to try to get those good points and finishes and hopefully a win." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 24 Hendrick driver races at Pocono one last time; talks Chase chances RELATED: Complete lineup for Sunday's race " See all 43 paint schemes Sunday's Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) will be Jeff Gordon 's final start at Pocono Raceway. While he appreciates the support Pennsylvania fans have given him over the years, he won't be sentimental about his last trip to the Tricky Triangle because he's still a win away from making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "I'm so focused on the competition and trying to compete at a high level, trying to get ourselves in a position to win the race, win the pole, be in the Chase, I just can't and haven't been able to allow it to sink in," Gordon said. "It might not happen until the race is over at Homestead. I have no idea when that's going to impact or sink in." The reality of his current points position hit hard when he finished 42nd last week at Indianapolis and his margin over Clint Bowyer , the last driver currently in the Chase on points, narrowed to 37 points. Just a week earlier, he enjoyed a 71-point cushion over the final provisional Chase position. RELATED: See updated series standings In his final full-time season, Gordon wants to do more than just make the Chase; he wants to compete for his fifth championship. "Obviously having a bad finish like that, it can shake things up in a hurry," Gordon said. "I think our team is very capable of getting ourselves in the Chase, but we want more than that. We want to be battling for wins, and we're fighting extremely hard to do that. We know what a win can do in securing that spot, but we're also a strong team that has overcome adversity in the past. We're going to fight all the way through Richmond to make sure no matter what, whether it's by points or with a win, that we get ourselves in there." The six-time winner at Pocono stands atop the all-time leaderboard at the track, and Hendrick Motorsports ' 17 victories are nearly twice as many as the next closest teams on the list. Joe Gibbs Racing and Roger Penske have nine apiece. Gordon also enjoys racing on the unique three-sided surface. "I love the challenge that this race track presents on track," Gordon said. "I've been driving for a team that has great performance on tracks like this as well. We've been known to get down the straightaways pretty good. This place has a lot of straightaway, but I also like the shifting and the unique corners that are here as well." Gordon acknowledged how the negative side of the fast straightaways figured into the single moment that stands out from his 23 years of racing at the facility. "I wrecked really bad in Turn 1, that stands out," Gordon said, referring to a 2006 crash. "It's funny those types of incidents stand out to you as much as some of the good moments that you have. You never forget moments like that. Let's put it that way. "I can remember coming here early, early on and maybe even watching a race here or an IndyCar race here on TV prior to me ever racing here and just in awe of how long the front straightaway was, how fast the cars are going into Turn 1. And I always said, 'You don't ever want to have a brake problem going into Turn 1 at Pocono,' and I had one and experienced it so that stands out to me." But the people of Pocono Raceway have left a lasting impression as well. On Friday, track president Brandon Igdalsky presented Gordon with a $24,000 check for the Jeff Gordon Foundation to go with nearly $58,000 raised Thursday night for Gordon's foundation and The NASCAR Foundation at a charity poker tournament. In addition to the funds, Igdalsky's team painted " Gordon " on the track, which didn't go unnoticed by the driver of the No. 24 car. RELATED: Gordon , Wallace cash in chips for a good cause "This track has been really special to me over the years," Gordon said. "I thought it was enough that you put my name at the start/finish line but what we did last night at the event and this (check) is above and beyond." The fans of the area welcomed Gordon as a young racer, even before he joined NASCAR's premier series, and he's continued to benefit from their support throughout his racing career. "I go back to when I raced dirt around Pennsylvania and Ohio and Indiana in sprint car racing and how big racing is in this state," Gordon said. "And I think that was very evident to me immediately when I got in the Cup Series and started flying into the airports here, and it was always the biggest crowds of fans that we had, anywhere we went, standing there waiting for the teams and the drivers to arrive, wanting to get a glimpse, a picture, an autograph. "That's been maintained throughout all the years, and when I put a fan club together, our largest number of members were from Pennsylvania, if you took it by state. This is a big racing part of the country, and I think that's why the track has continued to do so well through the years because they have people that love racing, that love NASCAR racing." The four-time champion's love for Pocono would grow with a win this weekend that would keep alive his drive for five titles. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky makes a $24,000 donation to the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.
Driver of No. 24 was trying to avoid spinning Clint Bowyer RELATED: Gordon says goodbye to the Brickyard Jeff Gordon ran into trouble on Lap 50 in his final appearance as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon damaged the left-front side of his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet when he hit the wall at the 2.5-mile superspeedway while trying to avoid a spinning Clint Bowyer . Gordon made light contact with teammate Kasey Kahne 's No. 5 Chevrolet as he veered right to avoid Bowyer. The driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 15 Toyota was racing alongside Kevin Harvick when his car appeared to get loose and went into a spin. "I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position," Gordon said. "I saw (Clint) Bowyer get sideways. I don't know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don't know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall." Gordon , a five-time winner at Indianapolis who spent time racing as a teenager while living in Pittsboro, Indiana, went to pit road twice to get significant repairs. The second time, NBCSN reported that the crew had to cut away part of the left-front fender to prevent it from rubbing the tire, and he was penalized for speeding on pit road. RELATED: Gordon goes home to Pittsboro Gordon returned to the track but, by Lap 66, was scored five laps down. The NASCAR tower asked Gordon to pick up his speed as he was having trouble meeting the minimum 58.11-second lap required of cars in the race. When Gordon couldn't meet the speed, he brought the No. 24 to the garage. "Yeah, we're never going to give up," Gordon said. "We got back out there as fast as we could. The splitter was too torn up on the front and creating lift. The car didn’t have any front downforce and was pushing bad. We're probably going to cut the nose off, put a new nose on and get back out there." Gordon got back out on the track eventually and was scored 42nd in his final run at the Brickyard. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jeff Gordon says his crash at Indy was disappointing, but his team is going to fight for a win and a way into the Chase all the way through the race at Richmond.
Pittsboro, Indiana honored one of its favorite sons, Jeff Gordon , prior to this weekend's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pittsboro, Indiana welcomes emotional four-time NASCAR champion PHOTOS: Hometown honors Gordon with parade PITTSBORO, Ind. -- There's a sign on the Subway storefront proclaiming "Chicken Salad is Back" and the Cork & Cap package liquor establishment is nearby. Across the street, there's the Dollar General with the sign "You Make Us Proud Jeff " out front. Next door is the Pittsboro Veterinary Clinic and Big Tuck's Feed & More sits on the corner of Main and Maple Streets. A single traffic light is all that's required in this tiny town of 3,000 residents. A helicopter buzzes overhead as hundreds of folks crane their necks, looking down the street. It's high noon and the parade has begun. Jeff Gordon , five times a winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a four-time NASCAR champion, is being honored here. The town's most popular son, by way of California, has come home. RELATED: Photos, recaps of Gordon's 21 Brickyard 400s The Hendrick Motorsports driver is winding up an incredible career in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, and this weekend's Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM) will be his last at the legendary facility as a driver. His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and third on NASCAR's all-time win list. At season's end, he'll be Jeff Gordon the racer no more. The procession slowly makes its way down Main Street, led by a Pittsboro Police Department cruiser. Members of the Tri-West Marching Band are close behind, with a Boy Scout troop, members representing American Legion Post 426, various dignitaries, Little League players, soccer players (state finalists, the banner proclaims), representatives from IMS and state officials parade past the crowd. Eventually, the white Chevrolet convertible eases down the street, with Gordon seated in back, smiling and waving to the crowd. Less than 20 minutes after it starts, the parade ends. But Jeff Gordon Day in Pittsboro is only beginning. • • • Fans are seen carrying die-casts, pieces of sheet metal and one even has a racing tire in tow. Most here at Scamahorn Park have their attention turned to the stage, where various dignitaries are speaking on behalf of Gordon . It's Jeff Gordon Day "not just here in Pittsboro," Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tells the crowd, "but ... I declare (it) in all 92 counties." Pence presents Gordon with the Sagamore of the Wabash award, the highest honorary award given by the state. There were proclamations, plaques and a badge -- Gordon is now an honorary member of the Pittsboro Police Dept. -- as well. "My parents had a lot of reasons why we came here," Gordon told the crowd, "but racing was a big, big part of it; maybe the primary reason. "But they found this nice home ... in Pittsboro. They wanted to be here. They found that home, and we lived there for a very long time and just loved being here in Indiana. I've got some of my best friends that I've ever had in life that I still stay in touch with that are still living here in Pittsboro or right around here." Gordon was honored. He was also emotional. "This to me today has been one of the best days of my life," he said as the crowd cheered. "I say that sincerely ... because I get to see what Pittsboro not only meant to me but what it means to you guys. And it's an awesome town and the way you guys came out and supported me and what I've done in racing, what the Brickyard has meant to me and what this town has meant to me ... thank you guys, this means the world to me, it really does." • • • They could have lived anywhere. In fact, Pittsboro wasn't the first stop for Gordon and his parents, John and Carol Bickford, when the family looked to move from Vallejo, California. "In 1985 when we came back to race (in the Midwest), we lived in Findlay, Ohio," John Bickford said. "We knew a guy in quarter midget racing that lived in Findlay ... He said, 'Hey you can work out of my shop if you want, I've got an apartment here with two rooms I don't use, you can stay in here this summer.' So we lived in Findlay, Ohio for the summer of '85." But Findlay proved too problematic. It wasn't centrally located, it wasn't close to those that built Gordon's sprint cars and it wasn't close to the tracks where he competed each weekend. If one were to draw a line at a 45-degree angle or so, beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the line heading northwest would go through Brownsburg, Pittsboro, Lizton (where Gordon attended Tri-West High School) and eventually Jamestown. Pittsboro was perfect. "It was close to the car manufacturers, close to the people we know, close to the school he's got to go to," Bickford said. "We've got a piece of property that's five acres so we can build a shop with no restrictions. ... So all the boxes were checked." It made perfect sense to Gordon , who said he was "100 percent all in" for the move. His racing career "really only became a serious reality because of Lee Osborne out in Jamestown who built our first sprint car," Gordon said. "And also the Stanley family that lived out in Brownsburg and used to build my quarter midgets, that are now building my kids' quarter midgets. "Those two families really were responsible for us first coming to Indiana and recognizing that we needed to be here if we wanted to take racing seriously." • • • Northwest of the famed speedway, out past Clermont and Brownsburg, the cornstalks are tall and green. Just down County Road 100, the brick ranch sits back off the highway. "It picks up quite a bit when the race is in town," Michael Lang says. Folks stop by, unannounced and uninvited, but Lang says he's used to it. Jeff Gordon grew up here. Raced out of here. Laid the foundation for his legacy here. The race shop out back is now home of Fluid Transfer Products, a company that Lang says "builds hoses and fittings" and similar products. He and his wife, Sherry, have been the owners of home and business here since 2000. Before that, Lang raced. He won seven consecutive Midget titles at Indianapolis Speedrome. He raced with and against Gordon , Tony Stewart and a host of others. "Just about anybody that's been down there and tried to run, maybe not in the last 10 years, but a little longer, I raced against them. Raced against them all," Lang says. Eventually, his car owner began to scale back and Lang "took a year and a half off. "I came back, ran an indoor show, won the race and then got bit (by the racing bug) again. But then we had some problems and I thought 'this is exactly why I got out before.' "I had young kids at the time, had just moved in here. I had a good run, won 76 midget races and had a lot of fun. I had ambitions just like anyone, but unfortunately didn't have the money." He had already decided to move away from the city -- he previously lived near the speedway -- when "I picked the USAC newsletter up one day," he says. "And there was an ad for this place." • • • "You have no idea how deep here it goes for us," Gordon says. "We're very proud to call Pittsboro our home. "I tell everybody it really started here in Pittsboro and I would never be where I am today if it weren't for Pittsboro, this town and what it meant to me." The two-lane road leads past the fields of corn and across the railroad tracks. Up ahead, the highway sign indicates the end of Mitchell Avenue and the start of Wall Street. A turn, out of Pittsboro, leads back to the Interstate. The name of the road is fitting -- Jeff Gordon Boulevard. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Clint Bowyer spins and Jeff Gordon crashes into the wall trying to avoid him at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Complete news and notes on all 43 cars in the Windows 10 400 RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down how the full 43-car field fared at Pocono Raceway. 1. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth was 16 seconds behind leader Kyle Busch in the closing laps, but the driver of the No. 20 saved enough fuel to pass his teammate and coast to his first Pocono win. 2. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . "Sorry about that, guys. Everybody OK?" Keselowski asked his team after he locked up his brakes, slid through his pit box and hit two crew members during his Lap 58 green-flag stop. He rallied to score his fifth top five of the year. 3. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon matched his best 2015 finish when his Pocono finale became a fuel-mileage race and he climbed from 16th. 4. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt and his team battled through a variety of issues -- a pit road penalty and mid-race spin among them -- to be in the right place and climb from 17th to fourth in the final 10 laps as the leaders ran out of fuel. 5. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle recorded his second top-five of the year thanks to -- you guessed it -- fuel mileage. He also led Laps 125-126 during green-flag stops and kept working with his team to find grip. 6. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson was forced to pit for fuel with three laps to go and climbed through the field to earn his 14th top-10 as competitors faded. 7. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . A missed shift triggered a vibration for Allmendinger, who worked through the issue to score his third top-10 of the year. 8. Clint Bowyer , No. 15, Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Bowyer started saving fuel while running 11th with 18 laps to go. 9. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . It was a solid day for Stewart, who started fifth before recording just his second top-10 this season. 10. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards was running ninth in the closing laps when he hit pit road for a quick splash of fuel. 11. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard spent the majority of Sunday’s race running inside the top 15 and saved one lap of fuel to make it to the end. 12. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . Fuel mileage wasn’t on Larson’s side, but he was still pleased with the effort and later tweeted, "Best car we’ve had all year though and pit crew did an awesome job all day." 13. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . With crew chief Slugger Labbe at the helm, Dillon posted his best Pocono result. 14. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill ran as high as second en route to his best career Pocono showing. 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet. Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray said Pocono was slicker this weekend than it was in June and he spent the race chasing the handling of his car. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick had a mid-race scare when a piece of trash adhered itself to her car’s grille and caused her temperatures to spike. 17. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan improved to run 10th, but ran out of fuel in the final laps and coasted across the finish line. 18. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola reported a throttle issue during the first half of Sunday’s race, but appeared to have the right amount of fuel to make it to the end. 19. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex was running second in the final laps and had to hit pit road for a quick splash to finish the race. A pit road speeding penalty incurred during the stop damaged his forward progress. 20. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano led a race-high 97 laps and was cruising toward his second win of the year when his car ran out of fuel with three laps to go. He then picked up a speeding penalty while refueling. 21. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The pole sitter focused on fuel conservation and took over the race lead briefly before sputtering out himself with two laps to go. 22. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin focused on crisp shifts as he nursed a gearbox issue and maintained his position inside the top 10 until he also ran out of fuel. 23. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman was running 16th when he ran out of fuel in the closing laps. 24. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Allgaier was having a solid day, running inside the top 15, when he pitted just prior to the Lap 92 caution flag and lost track position. 25. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman improved upon his best Pocono outing after a solid effort on Sunday. 26. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett’s car started tight and then snapped to loose as Sunday’s race unfolded. 27. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt struggled to find consistency in his car and sustained damage while running in the pack. 28. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears restarted 13th after picking up eight spots on pit road during the final caution. Subsequently, he reported that his car was plowing through the corners. 29. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto stayed out of trouble to post his best Pocono finish. 30. J.J. Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley was awarded the Lucky Dog pass on the seventh caution period, but struggled to capture any momentum. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . On Lap 27, Moffitt made contact with teammate David Gilliland and sustained a significant tire rub. 32. Travis Kvapil , No. 32 Ford, Go Fas Racing. Kvapil held steady to improve upon his most recent Pocono performance. 33. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . During late-race green-flag stops, Gilliland’s team tried to get the front end of the car down after earlier contact elevated his splitter. 34. Reed Sorenson , No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Sorenson was the Lucky Dog three times in a row, but struggled to find a rhythm and stay on the lead lap. 35. Jeb Burton , No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . "They’re lucky no one was pitting that time," Burton radioed his team after Kahne’s early-race crash on pit road brought out the red flag. "They’ve gotten lucky twice. Something needs to change." Burton was in a similar incident during Saturday’s final practice session. 36. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill recorded his best 2015 result in his third Cup event. 37. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch was inadvertently turned by Paul Menard in Turn 1 and then nailed by Sam Hornish Jr . 38. Alex Kennedy , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Kennedy spun on Lap 92 to bring out the eighth caution flag. 39. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish missed a shift early in the race, which caused a world of hurt for him and others navigating the Tricky Triangle. 40. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne’s best Pocono start was stalled just past the midway point when a wayward tail pipe went through the radiator of his car. 41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenouse braked hard but couldn’t avoid crashing into the back of a slowing Sam Hornish Jr . in Turn 1 on Lap 28. 42. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The outside pole sitter opted to stay on track during the competition caution and blew up after leading the field to green on Lap 17. 43. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne got loose on Lap 5 coming off Turn 3 and slammed into the pit road wall, sending helmets flying and pit crew personnel scurrying. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Former New Hampshire winners absorb damage in collision RELATED: Previewing Sunday's race MORE: See all 43 cars at New Hampshire " Complete starting lineup LOUDON, N.H. -- Clint Bowyer called it the "damnedest thing I've ever seen." Jeff Gordon didn't disagree. Bowyer ran into the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion's No. 24 Chevrolet as Gordon was backing out of his own garage stall here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning. Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota sustained only minor damage to the front end and was eventually able to return to the track. Gordon's car, meanwhile, required significant repairs to the right-rear quarter panel. The repairs were not completed by the end of the session. "The whole weekend hasn't gone very well so far," Gordon said after wrapping up final practice for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). Gordon will start 23rd. He hasn't started outside the top 20 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at the 1.058-mile track since 2005. Bowyer will start 18th. "There are so many people in here," Bowyer said. "Hell, I glanced up ... all that (equipment) was there; that guy backing him out, I think he glanced up for a second but when I got there he wasn't even looking. "There's just so much going on (in the garage). It's a wonder that stuff doesn't happen more often." RELATED: See where Gordon , Bowyer are on the Chase Grid Gordon was able to return for the final practice and finished 22nd-fastest in a session cut approximately 12 minutes short due to rain. A pit cart, used to ferry equipment from the team's transporter to the garage stall, blocked the view of Gordon's car as it rolled out of its stall. WATCH: Gordon , Bowyer get heated in Phoenix in 2012 "The guy that backs me out looked over, I guess he was just starting to back me out ... I crept out there and he cleared me, but the No. 15 (Bowyer), probably couldn't really see me because of that pit cart," Gordon said. "I don't know if he kind of glanced away or what, but when he looked back, I was just right there and couldn't go anywhere. It's kind of a combination of, I guess, both of us could take fault in that." "I love seeing my crew chief (Alan Gustafson) get in there and get dirty, but not for that reason. And, that practice went a little bit better than the other one. So, we're gaining on it.” MORE: Breaking down the New Hampshire contenders Gordon , 43, is in his final season with Hendrick Motorsports and will embark on a NASCAR broadcasting career with FOX Sports next season. His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and No. 3 on NASCAR's all-time win list, trailing only Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). He is a three-time winner at NHMS. "I don't want to say it can't get worse, but I know it can," Gordon said of the mishap. "So, I'm not going to say that. But hopefully this will all pay off for us tomorrow." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule