Sunday, July 1
New Hampshire Int'l Spdwy
Denny Hamlin leads en route to victory at New Hampshire Int'l Speedway. More pictures at the end of this page...
Hamlin Holds off Gordon for First Win in 2007
LOUDON, NH (July 1, 2007) - For the better part of this season, Denny Hamlin and his pit crew have struggled to prevent one or the other from making a mistake.
Sunday, at New Hampshire International Speedway, things came together for both and Hamlin held off a charging Jeff Gordon to win the LENOX Industrial Tools 300 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.
Hamlin, who had not led a lap all day and had not won a race this season, took advantage of his pit crew's work to win the 300-lap event before a capacity crowd.
His crew put him back on the track first when a caution fell with 256 laps, prompting a final stop for the closely-matched field. He stayed there the rest of the way but it took every ounce of driving skill Hamlin could muster to hold off the determined Gordon.
NASCAR’s former champion, racing without his regular crew chief, drove the final laps like a man possessed and might have overtaken Hamlin had the race not ended when it did.
Trailing Gordon was Martin Truex Jr., the hottest driver on the circuit in recent events.
Truex's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fourth and Gordon’s teammate Jimmie Johnson, also without his regular crew chief, finished fifth.
Crew chiefs Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus were suspended for rules violations on NASCAR’s new car prior to the race in California last week. Both Letarte and Knaus were suspended for six races, fined $100,000 each and placed on probation until the end of the year.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers were Jeff Green, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman.
Kyle Busch was 11th and Tony Stewart 12th.
Carl Edwards, one of the race leaders and a potential winner, saw his hopes erased when a faulty jack during a pit stop cost him two laps.
Ward Burton’s bad luck continued as his Chevy spewed smoke coming out of turn four on the third lap. He drove straight to the garage and the starting field circled this one-mile track under caution for the first time on a cool, overcast New England afternoon.
Gordon needed only 25 laps to make his way from eighth to second behind pole winner Dave Blaney. On the 30th lap, the four-time champion pushed his Chevrolet past Blaney's Toyota for the lead.
The elder Busch brother, Kurt, maintained third with Reed Sorensen and Earnhardt Jr. right behind.
After several more laps, Blaney continued to slip back. At 60 laps, Blaney was 13th.
Gordon held a 2.7-second lead over Earnhardt, with Busch third, then Sorensen, Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Edwards and Truex.
Earnhardt took the lead after the pit stops for fuel and was still in front when the second caution of the day came out on lap 96 for debris.
Busch came out of the pits first, Johnson was next and Earnhardt was third.
Earnhardt brought the crowd of more than 100,000 fans to its feet when he charged past Busch for the lead on lap 105.
Another caution slowed the field on lap 126. On the restart, Johnson led a few laps before Kyle Busch and Earnhardt passed him. There was plenty of action behind the frontrunners with veteran Jeff Burton and Earnhardt teammate Truex racing their way into the top six spots.
At the halfway point (150 laps), the top 10 included: Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, Edwards, Johnson, Truex, Burton, Gordon, Hamlin, Stewart and Harvick, with Juan Pablo Montoya 11th.
Complete Race Results and Point Standings in the Event Stats section below...
Checkered Flag Fast Facts
Practice: Friday, June 29 (SPEED at 1 p.m./AT, 12 p.m./ET)
Qualifying: Friday, June 29 (SPEED at 4 p.m./AT, 3 p.m./ET)
Final Practice: Saturday, June 30 (SPEED at 12:30 p.m./AT, 11:30 a.m./ET)
RaceDay: Sunday, July 1 (SPEED at 12:30 p.m./AT, 11:30 a.m./ET)
Countdown to Green: Sunday, July 1 (TNT & TSN-HD at 3 p.m./AT, 2 p.m./ET)
Race: Sunday, July 1 (TNT & TSN-HD at 3:30 p.m./AT, 2:30 p.m./ET)
- Denny Hamlin won the LENOX Industrial Tools 300, his third victory in 60 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
- This is his first victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2007.
- This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in three races at New Hampshire.
- Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 25 races at New Hampshire.
- Martin Truex Jr. (third) posted his first top-10 finish in three races at New Hampshire. Truex has finished
in the top-three in four of the past five races.
- David Ragan (15th) was the highest finishing rookie.
- Gordon maintained his lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and is now 156 points ahead
Event Stats PDF files unless otherwise noted
Green Flag Fast Facts
The Race: LENOX Industrial Tools 300
The Place: New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
The Date: Sunday, July 1
The Time: 3:30 p.m./AT, 2:30 p.m./ET
TV: TNT & TSN-HD, 2 p.m./AT, 1 p.m./ET
The Track: 1.058-mile oval
The Distance: 317 miles; 300 laps
The Purse: $5,315,335
2006 Winner: Kyle Busch
2006 Pole: Ryan Newman
Pre-Race Schedule (Track Time - ET): Friday—Practice, 12-1:30 p.m. Qualifying—3:10 p.m. Saturday—Practice, 9-9:50 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Year-To-Date Standings: click here NOTE - points do not reflect 100 point penalties assessed to
Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson this week...Update will be made after NHIS race.
Keys to Winning...
- Dave Blaney won the Bud Pole for the LENOX Industrial Tools 300 with a lap of 29.426 seconds, 129.437
mph. This is his second Bud Pole 250 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
- This is his fourth top-10 start in 2007.
- This is Blaney’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in 15 races at New Hampshire International
- This is the first time since Daytona last July (Boris Said) that a driver that had to qualify on time won the Bud
- This is the first Bud Pole for Toyota on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. Toyota had four previous top-10
starts this season – three by Blaney.
- Kurt Busch (second) posted his seventh top-10 start in 13 New Hampshire races. It is his best starting
position here and his sixth top-10 start this season.
- Reed Sorenson (third) posted his career-best starting position and his second top-10 start in 2007.
- Johnny Sauter (fourth) posted his career-best qualifying effort and his first starting position better than 30th in
three New Hampshire races.
- Juan Pablo Montoya (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie. This is his third top-10 start in 18 career
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
- Drivers that failed to qualify included: Chad Chaffin, Michael Waltrip, Kenny Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Scott Riggs and AJ
New Hampshire International Speedway’s similarities to Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway portend an extremely competitive Car of Tomorrow event; previous races at those tracks went down to the wire. Other points of note:
Green Flag Notes...
- Pit Stops – With a 300-lap race, teams must think ahead, reserving final adjustments for their final stop. Track position is too crucial to forfeit in the closing laps.
- Qualifying – Do your best on Friday to ensure a good start on Sunday. Starting well is important at New Hampshire.
- Braking – Maneuvering through the corners means more speed and less worries. Going in too loose and wide means scraping walls.
Photo Gallery - Sunday, July 1 - race day
- Seven large steps have been completed in the 2007 debut of the Car of Tomorrow – NASCAR’s next-generation race car.
Now, the eighth step awaits in Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
And after last week’s road-course debut at Infineon Raceway complete, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams will enjoy a bit of déjà vu this week.
New Hampshire’s 1.058-mile surface is similar to those at Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway, so crew chiefs have the luxury of building on already-thick notes.
Teams will run 16 of this year’s 36 events with the new car – a seven-year project of NASCAR’s Research & Development Center. Earlier, on May 22, NASCAR announced the car will run fulltime in 2008.
- As NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams prepare for Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire, they’re also preparing for a most important part of the season – the “Race to the Chase.”
It’s the 10-week, 10-event stretch that precedes the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and helps establish the field. The 2007 “Race to the Chase” begins Sunday at New Hampshire and culminates with race No. 26 on the series schedule – Sept. 8 at Richmond International Raceway.
But before that, teams must tackle a tough summer gauntlet with challenges like Daytona International Speedway’s high-banked layout; Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s historic, tight turns; the demanding road course at Watkins Glen and the heated August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ two annual forays into New England means home cooking and family visits for several members of the garage. Three crew chiefs hail from New England – Greg Zipadelli, Kevin Manion and Steve Letarte.
Zipadelli (Tony Stewart’s crew chief) is from Berlin, Conn. Manion (Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief) is from Boylston, Mass. And Letarte (Jeff Gordon’s crew chief) is from Portland, Me.
Stewart’s team claims three other New England natives – front tire changer Ira-Jo Hussey from Manchester, N.H., jack man Jason Lee from Willimantic, Conn., and car chief Jason Shapiro from Essex, Conn.
Juan Pablo Montoya’s car chief, Mike Brill (Woodsville, N.H.) is another New Englander.
- Juan Pablo Montoya’s win last Sunday at Infineon boosted Dodge’s fortunes in the battle for second place in the manufacturers standings.
Dodge and Ford are contesting the spot; Montoya’s victory pulled Dodge within three points of Ford and second place. It was Dodge’s first win this year.
Ford has 85 points and two wins. Dodge has 82 points and one win. Chevrolet leads the standings with 135 points and 13 wins.
- For the fifth consecutive week, Johnny Sauter keeps Joe Custer’s No. 70 Yellow Transportation Chevrolet in the 35th, and final, locked-in starting position. Haas-CNC Racing teammate Jeff Green – the Custer-owned No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet – fell to 34th following last Sunday’s 42nd-place finish at Infineon.
Meanwhile, Bill Elliott’s efforts in the No. 21 Little Debbie Ford owned by Glen Wood and are beginning to pay off. Elliott, who started seventh at Infineon, has made five consecutive races and moved the flagship Wood Brothers Racing car to 38th in owner standings. The 21 had moved to 39th following Elliott’s work at Michigan two weeks ago.
- Seven of the current top 12 drivers have won at New Hampshire, fact not to be dismissed. Jeff Burton (No. 31 LENOX Chevrolet) leads all drivers with four wins there. Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet) ranks second with three New Hampshire wins. Kurt Busch, Johnson, Newman and Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet) each have two wins.
Kyle Busch (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet), is Sunday’s defending winner. Kevin Harvick won last fall’s New Hampshire event.
- Heading into Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 300, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) holds the 12th and final Chase-eligible spot in the standings.
A change to this year’s Chase format means the top 12 drivers will compete for the series title following race No. 26 at Richmond. Ryan Newman (No. 12 Alltel Dodge), another two-time New Hampshire winner, is 13th, 96 points behind Earnhardt.
Jimmie Johnson (48) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8) race for position...
Hamlin crosses the finish line just ahead of second-place Jeff Gordon...
Hamlin does a burnout to celebrate his win...
Victory Lane celebrations for Hamlin...
Photo Gallery - Friday, June 29 - practice & qualifying
The CAT car driven by Dave Blaney won the Bud Pole award...
Interim crew chief Jeff Meendering (left) of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon talks with interim crew chief Ron Malec (right) of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson.
Dave Blaney was all smiles after putting his car on the Bud Pole for Sunday's race.
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