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Hendrick Motorsports drivers finish in top 10 at Indianapolis

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, came home with a second-place finish on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson, who started second, scored his league leading 14th top-10 finish of the 2013 season with the result. Joining Johnson inside the top 10 were Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne who finished third, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, who finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Here are the race recaps by driver:

Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
Third.
Standings: Ninth.
Recap: Kasey Kahne started Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the seventh position and kept his No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS inside the top 10 throughout the first run of the 400-mile event.  Following the first round of green flag pit stops on Lap 27, Kahne returned to the track in the sixth position, battling with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon. Kahne would remain inside the top 10 until the first caution period of the afternoon came out on Lap 59. On the ensuing restart, Kahne would maneuver the No. 5 Chevy SS into the top five for the first time and would run there until a four-tire pit stop during the second caution on Lap 80 shuffled him back to 16th position. When the race restarted, Kahne methodically worked his way back towards the front, moving his way back into the top five just 12 laps after the race went back to green.   Kahne would continue his charge towards the front, moving up to the third position just prior to the completion of the third round of green flag pit stops. Following the pit stops, Kahne would keep the No. 5 Chevy SS inside the top 10, battling with teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon. In the end, Kahne was able to come home with a third-place finish, utilizing a four-tire change on the final round of green-flag pit stops. This is the sixth top-five finish for Kahne in the 2013 season.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
Seventh.
Standings: 10th.
Recap: Jeff Gordon rolled off the grid in the ninth position on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon maintained his top-10 position throughout the first run of the race, battling with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne.  Gordon remained inside the top 10 following the first round of green flag pit stops and was able to move into the lead for the first time during the second round of green flag pit stops. Gordon would hold onto the lead until the first caution period of the afternoon came out on Lap 59. During the yellow, Gordon came to pit road for four-tires and adjustments, returning to the track in the eighth position. On the ensuing restart, Gordon would battle with teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. for position inside the top 15. Gordon remained in the top 15 until the second caution of the afternoon came out on Lap 80. While under caution, crew chief Alan Gustafson made the call to keep the driver of the No. 24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet SS out on the track in order to gain track position. Gordon was able to maintain that track position inside the top 10 until having to pit for an overheating issue with 60 laps remaining. Following the stop, Gordon returned to the track in the 14th position and quickly worked his way back into the top 10. At the end of the day, Gordon was able to remain inside the top 10 and come home with a seventh-place finish, his 16th top-10 finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
Second.
Standings: First.
Recap: Jimmie Johnson lined up from the second position on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and kept the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS inside the top three throughout the first run of the 200-lap event. Following the first round of green flag pit stops, Johnson was able to erase a 2.9 second deficit and take the lead for the first time on Lap 31. Johnson would hold on to the top spot until the second round of green flag pit stops took place on Lap 55. He would then regain the lead following the first caution period of the afternoon on Lap 59. Johnson remained the race leader until the second caution came out on Lap 80. When the race went back green, Johnson sat in the fourth position but only needed 11 laps to make his way back to the front of the field.  He would remain in the lead until the final round of green flag pit stops. During the final stops, crew chief Chad Knaus called for a four-tire change while other teams chose to take two for track position. In the end, Johnson charged back towards the front and was able to earn a second-place finish. With the finish, Johnson now leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in top 10 finishes with 14.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS
Race finish:
Sixth.
Standings: Fifth.
Recap: Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolled off from the 14th position on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 20th annual 400-mile event. While maintaining his position inside the top 15, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS reported to crew chief Steve Letarte that he had a loose wheel and decided to come to pit road at the completion of Lap 12. Despite falling off of the lead lap, Letarte praised Earnhardt for the decision to pit: “great call. We had a right-rear that was a little loose there. Ride it out. It’s a long race.” During the following fuel run, Earnhardt was able to make his way back into the top 15 as the race leaders on a different pit strategy came to pit road. Earnhardt would remain on the track while the leaders pitted and was able to earn his way back onto the lead lap following the first caution period of the afternoon on Lap 59.  Earnhardt would remain inside the top 15 until a Lap 80 caution allowed crew chief Letarte to make the call to keep the No. 88 Chevy SS out on the track for track position. Earnhardt took the restart in fourth position but quickly moved his way into the top three before coming to pit road for four-tires on Lap 98.  When the pit stops cycled back around Earnhardt was able to maintain his track position inside the top five. In the end, Earnhardt was able to hold off a charge from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon to come home with a sixth-place finish.

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