Gordon, Earnhardt earn top-10s in Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga. – Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, earned his third consecutive top-10 finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday evening, coming home with a sixth-place finish. Gordon, who started fifth, scored the 26th top-10 result of his career at the 1.54-mile oval. Joining Gordon inside the top 10 was Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. who finished in the eighth position. Teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne came home 28th and 36th, respectively.
Here are the race recaps by driver:
Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS
Race finish: 36th.
Recap: Kasey Kahne started Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the 18th position and immediately began charging towards the front. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS improved eight positions in the early stages, running as high as 10th just prior to a Lap 25 competition caution for rain earlier in the afternoon. After pitting for four-tires and adjustments, Kahne returned to the track in the 12th position but received damage to the front and rear bumpers on the ensuing restart. After surveying the damage on pit road crew chief Kenny Francis told Kahne to take the No. 5 Chevy SS behind the wall for repairs. After rejoining the field in 42nd on Lap 63, Kahne reported that he liked the way the car was driving after the repairs were made. At the end of the day, Kahne was able to gain six positions on track, earning valuable championship points. When the checkered flag waved, Kahne crossed the finish line 36th.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS
Race finish: Sixth.
Recap: Jeff Gordon rolled off the grid in the fifth position on Sunday evening at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon quickly began working his way towards the front, going three-wide on the opening lap before settling into the third position. The driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS would then move into the second position just prior to the Lap 25 competition caution. While under yellow, crew chief Alan Gustafson called Gordon to pit road for four tires and adjustments. After spinning his tires on the Lap 31 restart, Gordon was shuffled back to the fifth position but wasted little time maneuvering his way back towards the top three. He would remain inside the top three until a Lap 58 caution period saw the No. 24 Chevy SS come to pit road for four-tires and adjustments. Winning the race off pit road, Gordon would assume the race lead for the first time in the 325-lap event. He would continue to pace the field until the fourth caution of the evening came out for debris on Lap 76. After pitting for four-tires and fuel, Gordon would return to the track in the third position and remain inside the top five for much of the middle portion of the race. After pitting for four tires during a Lap 206 caution Gordon re-entered the track in the ninth position. He would continue to battle for position inside the top 10 throughout the remainder of the race, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the sixth position.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS
Race finish: 28th.
Recap: Jimmie Johnson started from the 10th position on Sunday evening at Atlanta Motor Speedway. From the drop of the green flag, Johnson steadily moved his No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS towards the front, improving three positions before the Lap 25 competition caution. During the caution crew chief Chad Knaus called Johnson to pit road for four-tires and adjustments. Returning to the track in the 10th position, Johnson sustained damage on the ensuing restart, sending the No. 48 Chevy SS to pit road for repairs. After returning to the track in the 34th position, Johnson would fight an ill-handling condition and ultimately lose a lap to the race leaders. Despite the early issues, Johnson would not give up, improving 11 positions into the top 25 throughout the middle portion of the 325-lap event. Then, as green flag pit stops were approaching, Johnson had to use an evasive maneuver to dodge the slowing car of Jeff Burton, causing the No. 48 Chevy SS to get sideways coming off of Turn 4. After pitting for four-tires as a result of the spin, Johnson returned to the track in the 30th position. Johnson would continue to battle throughout the remainder of the race, ending the night with a 28th-place finish.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Youth “Race 2 Achieve” Chevrolet SS
Race finish: Eighth.
Recap: Dale Earnhardt Jr. rolled off from the eighth position on Sunday evening at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After battling for a position inside the top five throughout the early stages of the 500-mile event, the driver of the No. 88 National Guard “Race 2 Achieve” Chevrolet SS would take the Lap 25 competition caution in the ninth position. After pitting for four tires and adjustments, Earnhardt returned to the track in the eighth position but reported to crew chief Steve Letarte that he had a vibration as soon the race went back to green. Earnhardt was able to get the problem rectified during a Lap 58 caution period for debris. After restarting in the 19th position, Earnhardt quickly drove his way back into the top 15. Earnhardt would maintain his position inside the top 15 throughout the the middle portion of the 325-lap event, moving back into the top 10 following a Lap 193 caution. Earnhardt would remain inside the top 10 until coming to pit road during green flag pit stops on Lap 252. Upon returning to the track, Earnhardt was able to maneuver the No. 88 Chevy SS into the top five, taking the fifth position with 60 laps remaining. Earnhardt would continue to battle for position inside the top five until returning to pit road with 38 laps remaining. Upon returning to the track, Earnhardt would battle with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for position inside the top 10, coming home with an eighth-place finish.