Richard Levi’s 95 helped put Northants on course for a fourth victory of the season as they set Gloucestershire 442 to win at Wantage Road.
The South African was eventually run out, but he had done enough to help take Northants up to 376 all out.
Ben Duckett was also a key man as he made 70 from 87 balls to set the innings up and conclude his Championship season with a tally of 1,338 runs at an average of 60.81.
Gloucestershire fought back late on, with David Payne taking four wickets, but they faced a huge challenge to hunt down the imposing victory target.
And their task got even harder as Ben Sanderson took two wickets during the 16 overs before the close, leaving the away side on 35 for two.