LOUDON, N.H. – Hendrick Motorsports teammates overcame several setbacks during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to finish inside the top 22. Jimmie Johnson recorded the highest finish with a fifth-place result – his seventh of the season – and improves to second in the driver standings.
Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet from his 28th starting spot to take the lead within the first 110 laps. He led 19 laps at this time. Johnson held steady throughout the race, but suffered a spin on Lap 240, when he saved his No. 48 Chevy from hitting the wall. The No. 48 team replaced Johnson’s tires and sent him back onto the track, where he climbed back into the top-five.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, challenged for the lead in the closing laps and crossed the finish line 11th. Midway through the race, Gordon picked up the lead and paced the field for 19 laps before a battery issue arose. He pitted and the No. 24 team quickly made the switch. Gordon returned to the field and returned to the lead lap shortly thereafter. As the race wound down, Gordon improved to run inside the top three and he crossed the finish line 11th. He ranks seventh in the driver standings.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a tire issue within the first 50 laps and his team worked to fix the damage during an ensuing pit stop. Throughout the race, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, improved into the top 12 by Lap 225. Almost 20 laps later, Earnhardt pitted under the caution period thrown for Johnson’s spin. His team suffered a tire violation during the stop, and he was required to complete a pass-through penalty that sent him to the end of the field. Earnhardt worked his way through the field to finish 15th. He ranks ninth in the driver standings.
Martin lined up 24th for Sunday’s race and took the lead within the first 62 laps. He led three laps before competitors with fresher tires slipped by him. Martin was running around the top 10 when he was involved in a spin in Turn 2 on Lap 184. After his team worked on the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, Martin returned to the field, where he improved to finish 22nd. He ranks 20th in the driver standings.