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Labonte Leads Hendrick at Pocono

  • Jul 28, 2003

LONG POND, Pa. (July 28, 2003) – Terry Labonte, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg’s / got milk? Chevrolet, led the way for Hendrick Motorsports at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, finishing fifth after starting sixth in the Pennsylvania 500.

The result was the two-time Winston Cup champion’s fifth top-10 result in the last eight races and moved him up three positions in the championship standings to 13th overall—just 69 points behind 10th-place Jeff Burton.

Joe Nemechek and the No. 25 UAW-Delphi team started 26th and finished seventh at Pocono, battling back from a damaged front fender after getting together with the No. 41 car of driver Casey Mears on Lap 60.

The top-10 finish, the team’s fourth on the season, moved Nemechek from 25th to 22nd in the standings after 20 of 36 races in 2003.

Starting from the outside pole position, Jimmie Johnson finished 15th at Pocono in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and moved to fourth in the Winston Cup driver standings.

Johnson is one position behind teammate Jeff Gordon and has eight top-10s, four top-fives and two victories this season.

Gordon, who qualified 25th at Pocono, had a disappointing day thanks to a mishap on Lap 125 that caused major damage to the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. Coming out of a caution period, Gordon’s car made contact with other competitors in traffic, sending him spinning.

“I know we got hit from behind, but we were all jumbled up over there (in Turn 3) on the restart so it was kind of a train wreck—a chain reaction,” Gordon said.

“The guys were doing an excellent job, just trying to maintain,” he continued. “We had good pit stops. We drove up there (to the front of the field) in the beginning but once we got up there we couldn’t get the balance of the car.”

Gordon slipped one position to third in the Winston Cup standings.

The NASCAR Winston Cup Series will next visit the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Aug. 3. Live coverage of the event will be carried live on the IMS Radio Network and NBC beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

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