So much for the ‘stache

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, stands on the grid after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. — After crashing out of last Sunday’s race at Chicagoland thanks to a stuck throttle, Jeff Gordon showed up at Loudon clean-shaven, at least in part on the premise that the mustache he brought back for the Chase opener didn’t bring him the good luck he had anticipated.

Gordon had kept a promise in growing the sort of mustache he had worn as a Cup rookie in 1993.

“I did the mustache because somebody said, ‘Hey, bring back the mustache,’ ” Gordon said. “I said, ‘Well, if we make the Chase then I’ll bring it back.’Â So I brought it back, and then with the way that it went last week, I was like, ‘OK, I’m done with the mustache.’Â I just changed my mind.”

Though Gordon trails Keselowski by 47 points with nine races left, he doesn’t believe the deficit is insurmountable. As a measure of how deep the hole is, however, Gordon could win all nine races and conceivably not claim the title, if Keselowski runs second each week.

Perhaps Gordon was looking for a reverse Sampson effect — and perhaps it worked. After shaving the facial hair, Gordon won the pole for Sunday’s race.

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