FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: NEW HAMPSHIRE 2 NOTES
The second race in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup takes place Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Joey Logano is the defending champion. Here’s a look at Ford’s history at NHMS, which included three overall Chase victories.
THE FIRST TIME…Ford won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was in the track’s second year of hosting events in 1994. That’s when Ricky Rudd outdueled Dale Earnhardt in the closing laps to post his 15th career win. Rudd led 55 laps on the day, but won it after a memorable side-by-side battle with seven laps to go in which he passed Earnhardt on the inside, only to see the black No. 3 crossover and pull alongside for the next lap. Rudd eventually pulled in front and held on to take the Slick 50 300 on July 10, 1994. Rudd went on to post 23 NSCS wins in his career and had at least one victory in 16 consecutive seasons (1983-98), but none may have been as satisfying as this one because it marked his first triumph as an owner/driver.
THE LAST TIME…Ford went to victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was last year when Joey Logano won the Sylvania 300 and joined Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in the Contender’s Round of the 2014 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. The win was Logano’s first career Chase victory and gave Ford its second straight to start NASCAR’s playoffs, but it likely wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for a pit call by crew chief Todd Gordon with 53 laps to go. With Logano running inside the top-five for most of the race, Gordon called for four tires while most of the other teams opted for two. That put Logano 16th on the ensuing restart, but the decision paid off as he quickly moved up to sixth 10 laps later when another caution slowed the field. Logano endured three more cautions, including a green-white-checker restart, over the final 30 laps to automatically transfer with the seventh win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
IN BETWEEN…Ford has 13 all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and four of them are by current NBC analyst Jeff Burton, who had at least one NHMS victory for four straight seasons (1997-2000). He won the summer race three straight years from 1997-99 and then captured the fall event in 2000 to notch his series-best fourth triumph at the one-mile facility. Burton’s last victory in 2000 also marked the last time a driver has led every lap. Burton started on the outside of pole-winner Bobby Labonte, but got the lead on the first of 300 laps and never gave it up.
FORD RACING WINNERS AT NHMS
1994 – Ricky Rudd
1996 – Ernie Irvan
1997 – Jeff Burton (1)
1998 – Jeff Burton (1)
1999 – Jeff Burton (1)
2000 – Jeff Burton (2)
2001 – Dale Jarrett (1)
2002 – Ryan Newman (2)
2004 – Kurt Busch (Sweep)
2008 – Greg Biffle (2)
2014 – Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano