DARLINGTON, S.C. – Jeff Gordon led Hendrick Motorsports with a 12th-place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway, while his teammates rounded out the top 19. Dale Earnhardt Jr. held on to finish 14th; Jimmie Johnson took 15th and Mark Martin was scored 19th.
Gordon lined up his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet fifth and maintained his presence in the top 10 for the majority of Saturday’s 367-lap affair. Gordon was running inside the top three when the final green flag pit stops began with under 20 laps to go. When he returned to the field, he was running inside the top 15. As the race wound down, Gordon held on to finish 12th and ranks 17th in the driver standings.
Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy Sugar Free/National Guard Chevrolet, improved from his 30th starting spot and was running inside the top 10 with under 100 laps to go on Saturday. Earnhardt was poised for a strong finish when he missed the commitment cone for pit road on Lap 228. The pass-through penalty put Earnhardt deep in the field, but he recovered to finish 14th and remains fourth in the driver standings
Johnson overcame two spins in his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet to return to the lead lap. He was running inside the top 10 with under 20 laps to go when he also suffered an issue on pit road. A missing lug nut sent the driver of the No. 48 Chevy to the rear of the field. He overcame the setback to finish 15th. He remains second in the standings.
Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, maintained his position inside the top 20 as the race unfolded. He was making his way through the field when he encountered contact from another competitor and sustained a cut tire on Lap 279. The contact damaged the No. 5 Chevrolet and forced Martin to make an unscheduled pit stop for fresh tires. Like his teammates, Martin rallied from the damage and finished 19th. He now ranks 14th in the standings.