Loudon II: GM Racing Saturday report

Variety is the Spice at NHIS There have been different winners in each of the past eight races at New Hampshire, second only to Michigan International Speedway (9) in that regard. Jimmie Johnson won in the spring here, and Ryan Newman won ...

Variety is the Spice at NHIS

There have been different winners in each of the past eight races at New Hampshire, second only to Michigan International Speedway (9) in that regard. Jimmie Johnson won in the spring here, and Ryan Newman won this race a year ago.

Leading the Way

Jeff Gordon has led 1,045 laps here at NHIS--440 more than the driver in second place, Jeff Burton. He has led the most laps here in six races, also a record, and led at least one lap in 11 of the 17. He's also finished in the top 10 in 10 of the 17 races. Tony Stewart is fourth in laps led with 315, and he's done it in nine races versus the 17 run by Gordon and Burton.

You hear about track position everywhere the Winston Cup Series races. At New Hampshire, it's probably as important as it is at Indianapolis or Pocono. Eight of the 17 Winston Cup races have been won by drivers starting in the top 10. On the other hand, one of the remaining nine races was won by a driver starting 38th.

Victory Battle

In 17 races at New Hampshire, Chevrolet has won six and Pontiac two, giving GM Racing almost half the victories here.

Of the top 10 in NASCAR points after 26 races, only three drivers have won here. Jeff Gordon is one of them, with three victories, Jimmie Johnson has one and Ryan Newman, Sunday's polesitter, is the other..

New Hampshire Quick Shots

Bobby Labonte has a history of qualifying well here at NHIS. He leads all drivers with nine top-5 starts in 17 races, and has seven top-10 finishes, including a runner-up effort in 2000. He's also led eight of those races. Labonte is one of three drivers to have started all 17 races here without posting a DNF. Jeff Gordon, with three victories, has notched eight top-5 finishes here.

Seven Chevrolet drivers are in the top 10 in series points after 26 races, and all seven have at least one victory. GM Racing machines have won 13 of the 26 races so far this season. That's two short of last year's total of 15.

Traditionally, Terry Labonte has not run all that well here at NHIS. His best start--until Sunday, that is--was fifth in 1993, and his best finish has been fourth in 1995. On Friday, Labonte qualified on the outside of the front row.

Jimmie Johnson and Michael Waltrip are still in the top 10 in points through 26 races, the only drivers to have been there from the beginning of the season. Waltrip, who had finished 33 consecutive races, lost that at Bristol and is currently working to correct a string of three straight DNFs. Johnson won here in July.

NASCAR Winston Cup Manufacturer Points after 26 races:

(Victories in parentheses)

Chevrolet (12) 183
Ford (7) 159
Dodge (6) 138
Pontiac (1) 92

NASCAR Winston Cup Driver's Point Standings after 26 races:

(Chevrolet drivers in bold)

1. Matt Kenseth 3,864
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3,446
3. Kevin Harvick 3,423
4. Jimmie Johnson 3,363
5. Jeff Gordon 3,271
6. Ryan Newman 3,255
7. Bobby Labonte 3,208
8. Kurt Busch 3,205

10. Michael Waltrip 3,079

21. Ricky Craven (Pontiac) 2,653

23. Johnny Benson (Pontiac) 2,554

Racing Around

Sam Hornish Jr. earned his second victory in four starts with the new Chevrolet Gen IV Indy V-8 engine, winning the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway last weekend. Hornish, who leads the all-time Indy Racing League victory list with nine, won by .0099 seconds over Scott Dixon and third-place Bryan Herta. The margin of victory among the top three was a startling .0100, the closest 1-2-3 finish in Indy Car history. Hornish has won the three closest finishes in Indy Car history--all with the Chevy Indy V-8. Alex Barron finished 7th and Robbie Buhl was 10th, giving Chevrolet three top-10 finishers in the event, the second with the new Chevrolet Gen IV powerplant snugged up in the engine bay of all the Chevy-powered cars. Hornish is now fifth in series points with two races remaining.

Pontiac swept the Funny Car and Pro Stock portions of the rained-out Mac Tools U.S. Nationals last weekend. Greg Anderson's SC/T Grand Am topped the Chevrolet Cavalier of Kurt Johnson in the finals when Johnson fouled. The final-round run of 6.803 seconds at better than 203 miles per hour gave Anderson his eighth final-round victory of the season. Anderson's effort also provided Grand Am with its 29th victory in NHRA Pro Stock competition and Pontiac its 120th all-time NHRA Pro Stock triumph, the most by any manufacturer in the history of the sport. In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson topped Johnny Gray in an all-Pontiac final, the first at the U.S. Nationals since 1999. Wilkerson, the No. 15 qualifier, marched through the field to earn his second career victory and his second Professional Funny Car final-round appearance at the U.S. Nationals (his first since 1997). It was also Wilkerson's second final-round appearance this season coming off a runner-up finish just three weeks ago at Brainerd, Minn.

GM Racing clinched its first NHRA Summit Sport Compact drag racing title Sept. 6 at Infineon Raceway in just two seasons of competition. All Nelson Hoyos had to do to earn that title was stage his front-wheel-drive Chevy Cavalier in the first round of qualifying for the Matrix GR Motorsports NHRA Nationals on Saturday. Of course, he earned a spot in the final round of each of the seven events GM Racing has run this season and won five of them to earn the title on points. NHRA rules state that a competitor has to enter at least eight events to be eligible for the title.

The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team maintained its position on top of the American Le Mans Series Championship after a podium finish in the Monterey Sports Car Championships on Sept. 7 at Laguna Seca Raceway. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, driving the #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R, finished second in the GTS class, eighth overall, after two hours and 45 minutes of racing. Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, in the sister #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R, finish third in class, ninth overall. The podium result maintains Corvette's position at the top of the manufacturer, team and driver championships in the GTS class of the ALMS for 2003.

Chevrolet is the only manufacturer currently competing in the ALMS, Indy Racing League, NASCAR Winston Cup and NHRA.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Bryan Herta , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Alex Barron , Oliver Gavin , Tim Wilkerson , Johnny Gray , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Corvette Racing