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Hendrick Motorsports recap from Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 15, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson was Hendrick Motorsports’ highest finisher in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.  Johnson took 12th, while his teammates rounded out the top 28 positions—Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 19th, Jeff Gordon finished 27th and Mark Martin took 28th.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, started from the outside pole position and led the first 14 laps. The No. 48 team overcame a miscue on pit road to finish 12th. Johnson remains ranked fifth in the driver standings.

“We overcame a lot today,” Johnson said. “We started the race good and faded a little bit and in the middle of the race when things started to slip from us. We did a good job of keeping our heads in the game and not letting it beat us down and start making bad decisions.”

Earnhardt followed Johnson across the finish line in his No. 88 National Guard ‘Drive the Guard’/AMP Energy Chevrolet to take 19th.  Earnhardt opened Sunday’s event from the 38th position and steadily climbed throughout the race, running as high as 15th on Lap 180. He is ranked 17th in the driver standings with three races until the field is set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Earnhardt is 129 points behind 12th-place Clint Bowyer.

Gordon lined his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet 36th and was running eighth by Lap 80. But misfortune on Lap 154 – a cut tire – hampered Gordon’s run, and he finished 27th. With 10 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s, Gordon remains second in the driver standings.

“We had a great run going, and I was really excited about how good the car was to be able to drive up from 36th,” Gordon said. “I really thought we were going to give those guys a run for the win there. But, everything that could have of happened did happen. We cut the front tire and got damage to the right-rear (tire); the vacuum system—we had a problem with that.

“We’ve just got to work hard and keep putting good race cars out there and you just hope that things turn around and come your way. That’s the thing about the Chase. Your momentum can shift at any time.”

Martin focused his efforts on finding that momentum on Sunday. He lined up 12th in his No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, but unfortunately made contact with the No. 82, which affected the front of the No. 5 Chevrolet. Martin finished 28th and is ranked 13th in the driver standings, 35 points behind 12th-place

“My guys did an awesome job,” Martin said. “The car was really fast the last run but it took us the whole race to fix up my mistake. I was real aggressive early in the race and got the damage in the front. It got us a little bit behind first of all and then got the damage in the front end. We going to race hard like we did today and try not to have any more scrapes but we’re going to go down swinging and that’s what we did today.”

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