Johnson Top HMS Finisher at New Hampshire
- Jul 22, 2002
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 22, 2002)—Jimmie Johnson finished 15th in the New England 300 on Sunday, making Team Lowe’s the top Hendrick Motorsports performer at New Hampshire International Speedway, where many teams complained of poor track conditions.
“The track position was important like always,” said Johnson. “Early, the race track started tearing up. So it really eliminated any type of good racing in (turns) three and four.
“You had to position yourself on good asphalt and put the guy you were racing with on bad asphalt.
“It was a wild day.”
Johnson remains third in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver standings, just 92 points behind first-place Sterling Marlin and 37 back of Mark Martin in second.
Two-time Winston Cup champion Terry Labonte had a solid race at the Loudon, N.H., track, running as high as fifth with 65 laps remaining in the 300-lap event. The Kellogg’s team made every effort to give the driver an excellent car, making multiple chassis adjustments throughout the afternoon to improve handling.
Labonte finished in 22nd and remains 17th in points, 99 behind 15th-place Michael Waltrip.
Defending Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon had a disappointing afternoon at New Hampshire, where he earned two pole positions in 2001. Driving the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, Gordon finished on the lead lap in 29th after starting 11th.
The four-time champion dropped one position to fifth in the overall standings, 140 points behind Marlin and just 48 behind teammate Johnson.
Joe Nemechek had another rough outing in the UAW-Delphi Monte Carlo after being spun by Jeff Green on lap 28 while running in 25th, ending his day.
“The team worked hard all weekend and we had some of our sponsors here to watch the race and pull for us,” said Nemechek. “To have something like that happen, it’s just terrible for everyone.”
Credited with a 41st-place finish after starting 29th at New Hampshire, Nemechek remains 38th in points.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will visit Pocono (Pa.) Raceway on Sunday for the second and final time in 2002 for the running of the Pennsylvania 500. Live coverage of the event will begin at 12:30 p.m. EDT on TNT and MRN Radio.