NASCAR notebook: Gordon’s consecutive start streak will reach 750 on Sunday

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Starting spot doesn't worry Logano; Kenseth still looking for first win.

Making 750 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is quite an accomplishment in itself. 

Doing so without interruption is even more remarkable. 

Jeff Gordon will make his 750th start at NASCAR’s highest level in Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon hasn’t missed a race since he took the green flag in Cup competition for the first time, in November 1992 at Atlanta. 

“It seems like just yesterday that it started right here, over 20 years ago,” Gordon said. “I love this track, love racing here, so it’s pretty cool to have 750 happening here.” 

If Gordon’s streak remains unbroken, he’ll surpass Ricky Rudd’s series-record 788 consecutive starts in the 28th race of 2015, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

Gordon’s longevity, and the four series championships that have accompanied it, have earned the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet a number of enviable perks over the years.

Air Force One 

Earlier this week, he got an invitation to tour Air Force One when President Barack Obama visited Charlotte, N.C. 

“I was testing in Martinsville, and so luckily my mom and my dad were able to go as well as (wife) Ingrid and the kids,” Gordon said. “They didn’t expect to be able to say ‘hi’ to President Obama. They just thought they were going to go and have a tour. So it was quite a surprise and quite an experience for them. 

“They’ve been talking about it all week and how cool it was. It’s interesting these days. You know, you have a seven-year-old daughter (Ella), who missed a day of school and then goes back the next day and they say, ‘Where were you?’ and she says she was seeing the president and I went on Air Force One and they’re like ‘Oh, right, where were you?’” 

Logano: Mid-pack start not a problem

In Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Joey Logano failed to make the final session of knockout time trials for the first time on an open-motor track. 

Logano qualified 14th for Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at the 1.54-mile track, but the winner of last week’s Bristol race isn’t particularly concerned about his starting position. Logano’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford was fast enough to pace Saturday’s first Sprint Cup practice session with a lap at 189.351 mph. 

“You have to go fast for a long time here, but we were OK, even on the long runs, Logano said after the session, which was truncated by an afternoon rainstorm. “We never put new tires on it, so we kind of just kept working, 

“We’ll see. I think the 4 car (of pole winner Kevin Harvick) is super-fast, but I don’t think we’re far behind him.”

Kenseth wants that win

Matt Kenseth is a likely Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifier whether he wins one of the final two regular-season races or not, but the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota would rather solidify his Chase berth with a victory. 

In final Sprint Cup practice at Atlanta, Kenseth was headed in the right direction. He was fastest in the Happy Hour with a lap at 188.251 mph. Given that Atlanta is a track where the Gibbs cars traditionally have excelled, Kenseth has to like his chances in race trim on Sunday night.

NASCAR Wire, Reid Spencer

 

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Event Atlanta
Track Atlanta Motor Speedway
Drivers Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano
Article type Preview
Tags atlanta motor speedway, chase for the championship