LOUDON, N.H. – No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson believes New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) can be compared to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), but the team cannot use the same chassis that visited Victory Lane earlier this year out west.
So he has decided to use a new chassis in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on Sunday at NHMS. A new car with updates.
"Sort of 24.1," Gustafson joked. "The chassis that won in Phoenix was destroyed in a wreck at Richmond (Va.), so hopefully this new one is better."
Both the one-mile Phoenix track and the 1.058-mile New Hampshire track are relatively flat, and the similarities have the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger team aiming for similar results.
"If I was to clip one section of a racetrack and compare it to Loudon, I would say Turns 3 and 4 at Phoenix are the closest comparison to what we'll race on this weekend," Gustafson said. "And Turns 3 and 4 was where our car was best at Phoenix.
"In my career, I've been better on flat tracks -- and I don't know why that is. This is a race I'm really looking forward to and on a track that I have a lot of confidence in.
"And Jeff Gordon is good at Loudon. Well, he's good everywhere."
In 32 starts at NHMS, Gordon has three wins and three pole positions, while his 14 top-five finishes, 18 top-10s and 1,207 laps led are tops among NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at "The Magic Mile".
"I had the chance to run New Hampshire in the Nationwide Series before the Cup Series was racing here," Gordon said. "I ran well then and had some success, and that transitioned over to the Cup Series.
"It's a very flat, narrow groove, tight-corner race track. It's one that seems to suit my style of driving and, as a team, it's one where we seem to communicate well and get what we need out of the car to make it go fast."
At Kentucky last weekend, Gordon and company posted their fifth top-10 finish in the last six events to move from 16th to seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings during that span. But work remains.
"We've had some good finishes," Gustafson said. "We need a good run where we lead some laps and have a good finish."