Pocono recap: Hendrick trio finishes in top 13
LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 3, 2009) – Three Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top 13 during Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.
The 500-mile event was rescheduled for Monday after rain showers permeated the area on Sunday.
Mark Martin led his teammates across the finish line, picking up seventh in his No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevrolet. Martin, who lined up ninth for Monday’s race, led once for 10 laps and ran in the top 10 for the majority of the event.
Just a hard fought day for us,” said Martin, who ranks 10th in the standings with four wins, six top-five finishes and 11-top-10s this season. “Our team dug in, and we fought it. We had a good car. We could have finished worse, but could have done better with it. It was one of those days where we had a few breaks go against us and a few go for us.”
Jeff Gordon followed Martin across the stripe to pick up his 15th top-10 finish this season. Gordon scored eighth place in his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet after starting Monday’s race in third.
“It was a good car; definitely the best car we’ve had here in a while,” said Gordon, who remains third in the standings. “I’m really excited about that and that we’ve been able to make those kinds of improvements. The strategy and the track position didn’t go our way today, so we ended up eighth. But it’s nice when you’re passing cars—good cars—even toward the end of the race.”
Jimmie Johnson started from the outside pole position, and led once for 22 laps. But he was forced to rally after an engine issue flared up around the midway point of the race. Johnson’s team made several changes under the hood of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, and the adjustments made the difference. Johnson climbed from running 36th to finish 13th.
“We dealt with a lot today,” said Johnson, who remains second in the standings. “I have to thank my guys for working so hard and trouble-shooting some different things. We finally found the problem there at the end. We were three laps down and able to get some cautions there at the end. For a while there I thought we would get a top-10, but I pounded the wall off (Turn) 2 and tore up the right side of the car and lost a couple of spots. Just a lot of fight in this race team. I’m very proud of them.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. climbed from his 22nd starting spot to run sixth by Lap 170. Earnhardt kept his No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet in the top 10 until the final 10 laps of the race when an issue arose. Earnhardt finished 28th.