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Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon finish in top 10 at Loudon

LOUDON, N.H. – Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, came home with a sixth-place finish on Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Johnson improved 37 positions throughout the course of the 301-lap event to score his league leading 13th top-10 finish of the 2013 season. Joining Johnson inside the top 10 was Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon who finished 10th. Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th and 14th, respectively. 

Here are the race recaps by driver:

Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS
Race finish: 11th.
Standings: 10th.
Recap: Kasey Kahne started Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway from the eighth position and kept his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS inside the top 10 throughout the first run of the 301-lap event.  Following the third caution period of the afternoon – a lap 79 debris caution- Kahne was able to move into the seventh position after battling with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kahne maintained his position inside the top 10 throughout the remainder of the green flag run before coming to pit road during the fourth caution period of the afternoon on Lap 122. During the pit stop, crew chief Kenny Francis made the call for four tires and adjustments, sending Kahne back out on the track in the 10th position.  Then, during a Lap 156 caution for debris, Kahne utilized a two-tire change to move the No. 5 Chevy SS into the top five, where he remained through the following two runs, moving as high as the second position before pitting for fuel only during the eighth caution of the afternoon on Lap 218. After restarting from the eighth position, Kahne was shuffled back to 20th following contact with another car. Crew chief Francis then called Kahne to pit road for four tires three laps later during the 10th caution period on Lap 237. Kahne was able to maneuver his way back into the top 15, overcoming several late race caution periods and a green-white-checkered finish to come home with an 11th-place finish.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
10th.
Standings: 12th.
Recap: Jeff Gordon rolled off the grid in the fifth position on Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Gordon maintained his top-five position throughout the first run of the race, battling with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the fourth position. As the track conditions continued to change, Gordon reported a loose condition to crew chief Alan Gustafson. Following the first round of green flag pit stops on Lap 77, for four tires and adjustments, Gordon returned to the track in the sixth and gained two positions on the ensuing restart to move back into the top five. He remained inside the top five until the fourth caution of the afternoon came out on Lap 122. During the caution period, Gordon came to pit road for a four-tire change and adjustments, returning to the track in the 10th position and immediately improving two eighth on the restart. Gordon maintained his eighth position throughout the following green flag run and following a Lap 156 debris caution. Gordon was then able to move his way back into the top five following a two-tire change during a Lap 201 debris caution, but came back to pit road during the eighth caution period of the day on Lap 218 for fuel only, returning to the track in the 19th position. Gordon continued to hover around the top 20 until contact knocked the No. 24 Chevy SS sideways for the 11th caution of the day. After pitting for four fresh tires, Gordon charged back towards the top 10, moving into the 11th position just prior to a caution on Lap 297. On the ensuing green-white-checkered restart, Gordon was able to move his way into the top 10, bringing the No. 24 Chevy SS home with a 10th-place finish, his fifth consecutive top-10 finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
Sixth.
Standings: First.
Recap: Jimmie Johnson lined up from the 43rd position on Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and wasted little time gaining positions, improving eight positions before the first caution period on Lap four. On the ensuing restart, Johnson moved his way into the top 25 but came to pit road for four fresh tires following a the second caution of the afternoon on Lap 14. When the green flag came back into the air, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS continued his charge to the front, improving 29 positions in just over 50 laps to the 14th position. Johnson maintained his position inside the top 15 until the fourth caution period of the afternoon came out on Lap 122. Crew chief Chad Knaus called Johnson to pit road during the caution period for four tires and adjustments, retuning the No. 48 Chevy SS to the track in the 16th position. Johnson improved to the 12th position during the following green flag run and utilized a two-tire change to move into the top 10 for the first time, moving into seventh. Johnson maintained his position inside the top 10 until a Lap 201 debris caution saw the No. 48 Chevy SS move into the top five for the first time all afternoon, leaving pit road in fifth. Johnson remained in the fifth position until a fuel only stop during the Lap 218 caution period moved him back to the 10th position. Johnson then survived four more caution periods and a green-white-checkered restart to finish in the sixth position, improving 37 positions from the start of the race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
14th.
Standings: Fifth.
Recap: Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolled off from the third position on Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and maintained his position inside the top 10 for much of the early portion of the 301-lap event. Just prior to the first round of green flag pit stops, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS reported to crew chief Steve Letarte that the car was a little loose on entry and exit. 20 laps later, On the ensuing pit stop, Letarte called for four tires and adjustments, sending the No. 88 Chevy SS back out on track in the fifth position. Earnhardt then battled with teammate Jeff Gordon for position inside the top five until the fourth caution of afternoon was displayed. During the caution period, Earnhardt came to pit road for a two-tire change and a chassis adjustment, returning to the track in the second position. After riding in the top five throughout the following green flag run, a lap 156 debris caution saw the No. 88 Chevy SS come to pit road for four tires and adjustments, moving him back to the 16th position as several drivers in front of him utilized a two-tire strategy. Earnhardt gained five positions during the subsequent green flag run before taking making another four-tire change on a pit stop during a Lap 201 debris caution. Restarting from the 16th position, Earnhardt utilized a three-wide move on the outside to maneuver his way into 12th just prior to a debris caution on Lap 210. After moving his way back into the top 10, Earnhardt came to pit road for fuel only during a Lap 218 caution. After restarting from the 18th position, Earnhardt was able to move his way back into the top 15, running as high as 11th. In the end, Earnhardt was able to bring the No. 88 Chevy SS home with a 14th-place finish, his fourth consecutive top-15 finish in New Hampshire.

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