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Johnson Wins, Leads Hendrick Parade at Pocono

LONG POND, Pa. (June 13, 2004) – Jimmie Johnson led the most laps on his way to Victory Lane in Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway—and his teammates weren’t far behind.

Paced by Johnson, who earned his third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win of 2004, each Hendrick Motorsports driver picked up bonus points for leading at the 2.5-mile venue.

Johnson started fifth in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and spent the majority of the afternoon battling for the lead.

The performance helped close the gap on leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the NEXTEL Cup championship standings.  Johnson remains second, but cut the difference to a mere 58 points going into next Sunday’s event at Michigan International Speedway.

After starting sixth in the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, Jeff Gordon finished fourth at Pocono and moved to fourth in the title hunt.

The four-time champion has two wins and 10 top-10 results this season.

Putting a third Hendrick entry in the top-10, Terry Labonte started 19th and finished seventh in the No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet for the second consecutive week.  It marked his third top-10 of the season—all seventh-place finishes—and moved him to 19th in the standings.

Over the past two weeks, Labonte has picked up six full positions in the title chase.

Brian Vickers was the top-finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender at Pocono, nabbing the 13th spot after starting from the outside pole position in the No. 25 GMAC Financial Services Monte Carlo.

The 20-year-old has started in the top-five in five consecutive races dating back to California Speedway on May 2.

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will next visit Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 20.  Live coverage will begin at 1 p.m. ET on FOX and MRN Radio.

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