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HMS Teams Earn Top-20 Finishes at Indy

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 5, 2002)—All four NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports landed in the top 20 on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both landed top-10 finishes in the Brickyard 400.

Gordon finished sixth in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, earning his 12th top 10 of 2002 and remaining fourth in the driver standings, trailing leader Sterling Marlin by just 125 points.

“It’s been a good week for us,” said Gordon. “That was a good solid run and that’s what we needed today. We never gave up and had good pit stops, good strategy and made smart calls and really pretty much came home about the best we were all day.”

The four-time Winston Cup champion started the race back in the 21st position and continued his streak of running finishes. Gordon can tie Dale Earnhardt’s modern-era record of 53 consecutive events without a DNF on Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Driving the No. 48 Lowe’s Monte Carlo, Jimmie Johnson brought home his series-leading 13th top 10 of the season, finishing ninth at Indy.

“More than anything, our good stops all day long really kept moving us up to where we could race with the good guys and end up with a top 10,” said Johnson.

The rookie leapfrogged Mark Martin for second in the point standings, a mere 93 back of Marlin.

Coming in 13th after starting 31st, Terry Labonte finished on the lead lap for the sixth race in a row driving the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevy. The two-time champion moved up one position to 16th in points, knocking Dale Earnhardt Jr. back to 17th.

Joe Nemechek fought handling problems throughout the Brickyard 400, salvaging a 20th-place finish after starting 10th.

“The No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevy was hard to handle from the very first lap,” said Nemechek. “It started out loose, then it would tighten up—pretty much back and forth all afternoon.

“My guys did a great job in the pits. They were certainly busy with all the changes that we made to the race car. Unfortunately, it was one of those tough deals where no matter what you do, the car just doesn’t want to react.”

The performance improved Nemechek’s position in the driver standings, as he moved from 38th to 37th.

Bill Elliott won the Brickyard 400 for his second consecutive victory, leading the most laps and moving up three positions to sixth in driver points.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will visit the 2.45-mile road course of Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday for the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen. The race will be broadcast live on NBC and MRN Radio affiliates beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

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