Bowyer, Gordon crunch in New Hampshire garage
July 18, 2015, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
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LOUDON, N.H. -- Clint Bowyer called it the "damnedest thing I've ever seen."
Jeff Gordon didn't disagree.
Bowyer ran into the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion's No. 24 Chevrolet as Gordon was backing out of his own garage stall here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday morning.
Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota sustained only minor damage to the front end and was eventually able to return to the track. Gordon's car, meanwhile, required significant repairs to the right-rear quarter panel. The repairs were not completed by the end of the session.
"The whole weekend hasn't gone very well so far," Gordon said after wrapping up final practice for Sunday's 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM).
Gordon will start 23rd. He hasn't started outside the top 20 in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at the 1.058-mile track since 2005.
Bowyer will start 18th.
"There are so many people in here," Bowyer said. "Hell, I glanced up ... all that (equipment) was there; that guy backing him out, I think he glanced up for a second but when I got there he wasn't even looking.
"There's just so much going on (in the garage). It's a wonder that stuff doesn't happen more often."
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Gordon was able to return for the final practice and finished 22nd-fastest in a session cut approximately 12 minutes short due to rain.
A pit cart, used to ferry equipment from the team's transporter to the garage stall, blocked the view of Gordon's car as it rolled out of its stall.
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"The guy that backs me out looked over, I guess he was just starting to back me out ... I crept out there and he cleared me, but the No. 15 (Bowyer), probably couldn't really see me because of that pit cart," Gordon said.
"I don't know if he kind of glanced away or what, but when he looked back, I was just right there and couldn't go anywhere. It's kind of a combination of, I guess, both of us could take fault in that."
"I love seeing my crew chief (Alan Gustafson) get in there and get dirty, but not for that reason. And, that practice went a little bit better than the other one. So, we're gaining on it.”
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Gordon, 43, is in his final season with Hendrick Motorsports and will embark on a NASCAR broadcasting career with FOX Sports next season.
His 92 career wins is most among active drivers and No. 3 on NASCAR's all-time win list, trailing only Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).
He is a three-time winner at NHMS.
"I don't want to say it can't get worse, but I know it can," Gordon said of the mishap. "So, I'm not going to say that. But hopefully this will all pay off for us tomorrow."