Gordon picks up second win of the season at Pocono|
Long Pond, PA (Sports Network) - Jeff Gordon inched closer to securing a spot
in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by winning Sunday's 5-
Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Gordon passed Juan Pablo Montoya for the lead just after a restart with 40
laps remaining and then took over from there. After a round of green-flag pit
stops, Gordon moved into the top position for good with 19 laps to go.
He easily held off pole sitter Kurt Busch at the finish for his second win of
the season and the 84th of his career, which moved him into a tie with Darrell
Waltrip and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison for third on the Sprint Cup
Series' all-time race winners list.
Gordon, a four-time series champion, snapped a 66-race winless streak in
February at Phoenix. He had struggled somewhat from there, but has bounced
back nicely by finishing fourth at Kansas last weekend and then winning at
"What it takes is a team that believes in you, and then you believe in them,
and you work together to get there," Gordon said. "That's what we did today.
We just never gave up. We had an awesome race car and awesome pit stops."
Gordon's fifth victory at Pocono placed him a tie with Bill Elliott for most
wins here. His last win at this tricky 2.5-mile triangular track came in the
June 2007 race.
Gordon climbed two positions to 11th in the standings. He is just six points
behind 10th-place Ryan Newman. Gordon's two wins so far this season almost
assure him a spot in the Chase.
The top-10 drivers in points will qualify for the playoffs after the regular
season concludes September 10 at Richmond. Positions 11 and 12, the "wild
cards," will go to those drivers who have the most wins, provided they are
in the top-20 at the time.
Gordon is the only driver presently inside the top-20 that has one or more
wins for the season.
Kyle Busch finished third, while Jimmie Johnson, the five-time defending
series champion, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five.
Busch's No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota failed post-race inspection. Officials
found the left-front end of his car to be too low. NASCAR is taking Busch's
car to its research and development center in Concord, NC for further
Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the sixth spot, and Montoya wound up seventh.
Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. were eighth through 10th,
respectively. Truex ran his first race with new crew chief Chad Johnston. Last
week, Michael Waltrip Racing replaced Pat Tryson with Johnston in the crew
Denny Hamlin, a four-time race winner at Pocono, dominated in the first half
of the 500-mile event by leading 76 laps, but Hamlin faded from there and
ended up in 19th-place.
Carl Edwards, the current points leader, finished a season-worst 37th after
suffering a broken valve on lap 59. Johnson trimmed Edwards' lead to just six
points, while Earnhardt Jr. moved to within 10 points.
"There was some sort of part that failed in the valve," Edwards said.
There were just four cautions in the 3-hour, 26-minute race. All four of them
were for debris on the track. Greg Biffle spun coming out of turn three with
34 left, but NASCAR did not display the yellow flag.
06/12 19:08:54 ET