Gordon wins at Pocono, Hendrick teammates in top 18
LONG POND, Pa. - Jeff Gordon tied Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third on the all-time NASCAR Cup career win list as he picked up his 84th victory on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Gordon, who led the final 19 laps of the race, won his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event of the season, and his fifth overall at Pocono. Hendrick Motorsports now owns 197 wins in the Cup Series.
“I really have to thank (crew chief) Alan Gustafson and all the engineers on this DuPont Chevrolet,” Gordon said. “They just worked so hard to get me what I needed to go fast. They never lacked confidence in what I could do out there. That is so important and that is what makes it a winning effort like this. We just never gave up. Awesome race car. Awesome pit stops. To win at Pocono again and to do it in the fashion that we did it today, it’s just a great day.”
Gordon started third and after consistently running in the top-five the majority of the day, he took the lead on lap 160. Crew chief Alan Gustafson called Gordon in to the pits for their final scheduled stop on lap 177. After Gordon beat the No. 2 car off pit road, the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet eventually regained the lead when the current leader had to pit. Gordon remained in the lead and took the checkered flag on lap 200.
Teammates Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin rounded out the top 18, finishing fourth, sixth and 18th, respectively, at the 500-mile event.
Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, started the event 14th, led one lap and ran inside the top-five for the majority of the day. Johnson remains second in the championship standings, just six points behind leader Carl Edwards.
“I really thought I had a shot there on that restart at the end, but I kind of got stuck in the middle, lost a bunch of track position and just had to recover from that,” Johnson said. “But it was a great day today. I’m very happy to see the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) in Victory Lane. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has been working very hard to make sure that the cars are getting speed in them and they’ve done that.”
After starting 21st, Earnhardt drove his way through the field and into the top-10 by lap 122. The driver of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet earned his eighth top-10 finish of the season and remains third in the championship standings, only 10 points behind leader Edwards.
“I’m real happy with where I finished,” Earnhardt said. “On the last restart of the race, we were 18th with 30 to go and we drove back up to sixth so I’m real happy about that. The car was pretty good. We struggled a little with the handling in the middle part of the race, but it was really good at the start and really good at the end. We had good speed all weekend, and hopefully when we come back we’ll have good balance again.”
Martin, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, started the event 10th and finished 18th after battling several handing issues throughout the day. Martin now ranks 15th in the driver standings.