ETC.: Gordon has completed 98.2 percent (10,758) of the 10,950 total laps contested in 37 career starts at New Hampshire. His average start is an outstanding 9.8 and average finish is an equally strong 10.5. He has two DNFs there.
39 RYAN NEWMAN, Chevrolet
Team: Stewart-Haas Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 8th, 28 points out of first place. Gained four spots last week.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Three wins and 15 top-10 finishes in 23 starts. Finished 10th in two of the last three races.
LOOKING AHEAD: Newman calls New Hampshire Motor Speedway "a fun race track. You really have to drive it into the corner and focus on rolling through the corner. It's one of the most symmetrical tracks we go to in that turns one and two are very similar to turns three and four. It's really important to focus on the exit to the corners. I got my first Sprint Cup win at New Hampshire, so it has always been a special track for me."
LOOKING BACK: Newman finished 10th in the rain-delayed Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. "I'm happy to come out of here with a top-10 finish," said Newman. "Track position was really important. We were stuck in the back of the pack for a while and couldn't really get going. Every time I got up behind someone, I'd just get so tight I couldn't do anything with it. Matt (Borland, crew chief) got us position with a couple of two-tire stops, and once we were up front, we were able to make a little more out of it. Our Quicken Loans Chevrolet was definitely better on the long runs."
ETC.: Newman feels the track position is the toughest thing to overcome at NHMS. "If you get behind, it is hard to make it up," said Newman. "Because track position is so important, hopefully we'll be able to continue our record of solid qualifying efforts at New Hampshire this weekend."
15 CLINT BOWYER, Toyota
Team: Michael Waltrip Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 9th, 28 points out of first place. Lost one spot last week.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Two wins and six top-10 finishes including four top-five's in 15 starts. Has finished in the top four in two of the last three races.
LOOKING AHEAD: Bowyer can't wait to get to Loudon. "If there is a track on the schedule that I feel we could make up some ground in the Chase - New Hampshire is that track," said Bowyer. "I've won at New Hampshire twice and I love everything about it. The flat short tracks seem to fit my driving style the best and I have had a lot of success there - so we are pretty confident going in. We could use a big week to get back on the right track."
LOOKING BACK: Bowyer passed Ryan Newman with two laps to go to finish ninth at Chicagoland Speedway. "Man, that was a long, long day and night," said Bowyer. "I'm glad we got to stick around and put on a show for the fans and everyone who stayed up late. The Peak Antifreeze Toyota was pretty good tonight but we struggled on restarts. In the second half of the race there were a lot of restarts. But ninth place isn't too bad. We need single-digit finishes for 10 weeks so tonight was a good start."
ETC.: Earlier this month Bowyer visited Swenson Granite Works in Concord, NH, where he used a crane to lift a 7,000-pound slab of granite. "They had the piece engraved with the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota on it," said Bowyer. "I thought it was so awesome that I just had to have it for our community building (in his hometown of Emporia, Kan.). I'll have some friends pick it up for me after the race this weekend. It's going to take a really big truck," adds a smiling Bowyer.
5 KASEY KAHNE, Chevrolet
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
WHERE HE STANDS: 10th, 31 points out of first place. Gained one spot last week.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Kahne won the July 15, 2012 race and finished fifth in last year's Chase race.
LOOKING AHEAD: Kahne believes he can get back into the thick of the championship battle this weekend at Loudon. "That has been a really good track for us," said Kahne. "We ran really good there in both races last year, and we were pretty good in July. So we have high hopes for this weekend. We just need to not have any of those problems like we had at Chicago."
LOOKING BACK: Kahne's hopes of challenging for win ended on pit road when several cars slowed dramatically in front of him as he left his pit stall. Kahne couldn't get stopped in time and ran into the back of teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., resulting in several more pit stops to fix the damage to the front end. As a result, he was forced to play catch-up for the rest of the race as he finished 12th. "It was actually a pretty good finish for what we had," said Kahne. "There were like three or four guys clueless on pit road. They couldn't find their (pit) stalls - like we've never done this before. Hurt our car pretty bad and from there we just battled. I had a fast car prior to that."
ETC.: Kahne believes the reason he and crew chief Kenny Francis "get along so well is because we have similar personalities. Neither one of us like to talk a lot if we don't need to. We just talk when we feel we need to, and we're usually on the same page. He's non-stop trying to figure out how to make our race car faster, and I try to do everything I can to know about the car and also be physically and mentally prepared as I can. So I think we see what each other does and really like it, and the communication is there, which is a big part of what we do. Being able to communicate with him, understand and be on the same page more often than not has been key for us."
16 GREG BIFFLE, Ford
Team: Roush Fenway Racing
WHERE HE STANDS: 11th, 31 points out of first place. Lost four spots last week.