On the surface, a 14th-place day at New Hampshire isn't awful, but when nine Chasers finish in front of you -- and you were starting at the bottom of the reset points already -- you're not going anywhere in the standings. Gordon dropped another 19 points further from first place and sits 11th.
"We were better than 14th place. Just fought hard. It was a great fight by our team, kinda the way our season has been," Gordon said. "The results don't show for it."
Fine, but that refrain will have to change soon or the three-man Hendrick Motorsports Chase contingent essentially will dwindle to two.
Going The Wrong Way
A week ago, he said his team needed a lot of improvement to be any kind of a factor in the championship. After crashing out in 39th place Sunday in what Kenseth called a slow No. 17 Ford, there's still room for improvement. But the championship is out of reach now, as he sits 177 points out of first and looking up at the entire Chase field.
It's worth remembering how he got here, though. Kenseth wasn't even in the top 20 after 10 races yet mounted a fierce rally (11 top-10s in the next 16 races) to keep his perfect postseason streak alive. He and Jimmie Johnson
are the only drivers to make all four Chases, and forgettable days like Sunday won't change that.
Showing Some Love For
Busch finished a solid sixth at New Hampshire while brother Kurt foundered to 34th with a part failure followed by a crash.
OK, not quite. Reverse that and put big brother on top, something that hasn't happened often this season. In fact, back-to-back top-10s are almost reason to celebrate for the No. 2 Penske Dodge. That has happened twice.
"We felt like we had something good from last week [10th at Richmond] and we tried it again this week. [The car] ran better," said Kurt Busch
, who won the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire in June. "We're still struggling at the end of the race keeping up with the racetrack. I don't think it's anybody's fault. We just have to work on something different, but what we've been having lately, it felt good the last two weeks."