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Jeff Gordon set a NASCAR record when Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire started.
The race was Gordon's 789th consecutive start in the Cup Series, breaking the mark once held by Ricky Rudd. Gordon has started every race in the Cup Series since the final race of the 1992 season.
"To me looking back throughout my career I never planned for this," Gordon said Friday. "I never thought about it a whole lot, but now as I’ve gotten closer to it…I remember talking to some people within my team over the last year. When you start getting closer to that number then you start recognizing the significance of it. Then the ‘wow’ factor comes in. I like stats. Stats are good, especially when they are wins and top fives and poles and championships. This is not a stat that I have ever thought about, but now that I’ve reached it I’m thinking about it a lot and I think it’s one of the most significant stats that I’ve had.”
Barring anything unexpected, Gordon will retire at the end of the season with 797 consecutive starts in the Cup Series. He's stepping out of the No. 24 car at the end of the season to move to the broadcast booth for Fox Sports. Chase Elliott will replace him.
Gordon is in the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup and shooting for his fifth Cup Series title. He hasn't won a series title since 2001, though he's finished in the top 10 in points in 11 of the previous 13 seasons.
It'll be a while before Gordon's record is challenged, too. Matt Kenseth is second among active drivers in career starts with 565. With 36 points races currently on NASCAR's schedule, Kenseth, 43, would need to drive for over six more seasons without missing a race to break Gordon's mark.
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