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Gordon on Indy standby for Earnhardt Jr.

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Saturday 16th July, 2016 - 8:44am

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Jeff Gordon could return at Indianapolis

Jeff Gordon could return at Indianapolis

Hendrick Motorsports has confirmed that Jeff Gordon is officially on standby for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for next week’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, should the concussion issues which have sidelined NASCAR’s most popular driver this weekend at New Hampshire continue.

Yesterday Earnhardt Jr. stepped out of the seat of the #88 Chevy, after feeling unwell with concussion-like symptoms following consecutive crashes at Daytona and Kentucky.

Gordon, who retired after a storied career at the end of last season, has spent the first half of this year as a Foxsports commentator. Now that NBC has taken over the broadcast for the second half of the year, Gordon is available. The lateness of the decision to pull Earnhardt Jr. this weekend meant Alex Bowman will drive the car as Gordon is in France on holiday.

“If Dale is not ready to go in Indianapolis, we will put Jeff Gordon in the car,” said Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Doug Duchardt.

“Obviously, when Dale is ready, it’s his car to get back into. But if Dale can’t go next week, Jeff Gordon will be the driver in Indianapolis. As far as Jeff’s situation, certainly, he’s a four-time champion, 93 wins, he’s not a bad person to think about putting in the car.”

Also confirmed is that the decision will be made midweek, and not have both drivers attend the race. At this stage no plans are in place should Earnhardt be unfit to race at Pocono and beyond in two weeks time.

“For (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) and the team, we would have to – certainly the way Jeff sits in the car, we would have to prepare the car for Jeff,” said Duchardt.

“I think we just want to take it one race at a time here. Any speculation past that is assuming Dale is not going to be ready for that amount of time. We will obviously be thinking about contingency plans, but we don’t have anything formalised for sure past Indy.”

Jimmie Johnson scored pole

Jimmie Johnson scored pole

On a busy news day for the Hendrick operation Jimmie Johnson kept the team in the headlines by taking pole for the Sunday’s New Hampshire 301.

It is the 35th career pole for the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

“I knew the car was good,” said Johnson.

“The car was fast in all the sessions, a little tight, but we kept progressing, we kept our lap count down which was really important and was able to advance to the next round on the first lap, so just really happy.”

Defending race winner Kyle Busch qualified second. Bowman will start 20th.

QUALIFYING: New Hampshire 301 – New Hampshire Speedway

 
POS. CAR # DRIVER MANUFACTURER SPONSOR MPH TIME GAP
1 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s 133.971 28.430 Leader
2 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries 133.830 28.460 –0.030
3 78 Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row 133.371 28.558 –0.128
4 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation / Monster Energy Chevrolet SS 133.059 28.625 –0.195
5 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office 133.059 28.625 –0.195
6 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil 132.915 28.656 –0.226
7 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts 132.720 28.698 –0.268
8 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS 132.697 28.703 –0.273
9 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite 132.692 28.704 –0.274
10 47 AJ Allmendinger Bush’s Grillin Beans 132.618 28.720 –0.290
11 5 Kasey Kahne Quicken Loans 132.126 28.827 –0.397
12 14 Tony Stewart Haas Automation Chevrolet SS 131.989 28.857 –0.427
13 19 Carl Edwards Sport Clips 132.822 28.676 –0.246
14 21 Ryan Blaney Motorcraft / Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center 132.799 28.681 –0.251
15 3 Austin Dillon Dow (Olympic / USOC) 132.780 28.685 –0.255
16 83 Matt DiBenedetto Cosmo Motors 132.683 28.706 –0.276
17 42 Kyle Larson Target 132.471 28.752 –0.322
18 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General 132.278 28.794 –0.364
19 1 Jamie McMurray Credit One / CreditCards.Com 132.241 28.802 –0.372
20 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide 132.057 28.842 –0.412
21 13 Casey Mears GEICO 131.724 28.915 –0.485
22 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Fastenal Ford Fusion 131.678 28.925 –0.495
23 23 David Ragan Flaming Leprechaun 131.665 28.928 –0.498
24 27 Paul Menard Dutch Boy / Menards 131.180 29.035 –0.605
25 31 Ryan Newman Whelen 131.501 28.964 –0.534
26 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield 131.401 28.986 –0.556
27 95 Michael McDowell Malwarebytes 130.954 29.085 –0.655
28 16 Greg Biffle NESN Fuel Ford Fusion 130.711 29.139 –0.709
29 10 Danica Patrick Nature’s Bakery Chevrolet SS 130.568 29.171 –0.741
30 38 Landon Cassill MDS Transport 130.568 29.171 –0.741
31 6 Trevor Bayne Advocare Ford Fusion 130.559 29.173 –0.743
32 15 Clint Bowyer 5-Hour Energy 130.367 29.216 –0.786
33 44 Brian Scott Shaw’s Ford 130.224 29.248 –0.818
34 7 Regan Smith APC Chevrolet 129.812 29.341 –0.911
35 34 Chris Buescher CSX – Play it Safe 128.680 29.599 –1.169
36 55 Reed Sorenson VYDOX Plus 128.070 29.740 –1.310
37 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J 126.774 30.044 –1.614
38 32 Eddie MacDonald Bentley’s Saloon 126.690 30.064 –1.634
39 30 Josh Wise Curtis Key Plumbing 126.534 30.101 –1.671
40 98 Ryan Ellis Superlite Cars 124.871 30.502 –2.072

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