Earnhardt Jr sweeps at Pocono

August 3, 2014 No Comments

BuJDVOUCcAATpAk.jpg-largeBrian Wiggins, Senior Writer 

Since August, 2012, there has been no better team at Pocono Raceway than Hendrick Motorsports.

Heading into Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400, the four-car powerhouse had won the previous four races at the track all with all the different drivers in their stable.

In June, it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking his second win of the season and first at the track referred to as the “Tricky Triangle”.

Through a rash of cautions for blown tires and even thirteen-car pileup in the late stages, Hendrick Motorsports found themselves in position to claim a fifth-straight win at Pocono.

With Greg Biffle playing some crafty strategy to score a crucial win before Chase time, Earnhardt Jr. pressured his No.16 Ford throughout the late stages. Finally able to get by Biffle, Earnhardt Jr. stretched out to over a three-second lead until the final caution of the race fell when Kurt Busch made contact with the wall.

The restart with three laps to go featured Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick’s beaten-up No.4 Chevrolet on the front row. Earnhardt Jr. was able to outrun Harvick on the outside of turn one, fended off multiple charges from the No.4 into the tunnel-turn and won Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400.

“Kevin was getting me in turn one and two, I just couldn’t back it down. I was way over-driving the car,” Earnhardt Jr. said in victory lane about his late-race battle with Harvick.

“I could get it through the tunnel [turn] and [turn] three and was fine. But, man, he could get it through [turns] one and two. I wasn’t driving the car right.”

Sunday’s win gave Earnhardt Jr. the season sweep at Pocono Raceway and was his third win of the 2014 season.

“Steve [Letarte, crew chief]‘s strategy was perfect at the end,” he continued. “I don’t know if anybody knew what was going on at the end, but it takes a really, really smart guy to understand what to do and take those gambles.”

Despite Earnhardt Jr. only leading the race once, Earnhardt Jr. said his car was better in Sunday’s race than it was back in June.

“They made the car better,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “That’s what I’m proud of this team for. They didn’t set on what we did last time, they wanted to be a faster car where we didn’t have to get a little luck to win.”

Harvick, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, and Biffle rounded out the top-five finishers in Sunday’s race.

With his second-place finish, Harvick officially clinches his place in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

GoBowling.com 400 Unofficial Results 

1: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2: Kevin Harvick

3: Joey Logano

4: Clint Bowyer

5: Greg Biffle

6: Jeff Gordon

7: Jamie McMurray

8: Ryan Newman

9: Denny Hamlin

10: Kasey Kahne

11: Kyle Larson

12: Casey Mears

13: Kurt Busch

14: Marcos Ambrose

15: Austin Dillon

16: Justin Allgaier

17: David Gilliland

18: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19: David Ragan

20: Ryan Truex

21: Cole Whitt

22: Michael Annett

23: Brad Keselowski

24: Josh Wise

25: Travis Kvapil

26: Dave Blaney

27: Reed Sorenson

28: Alex Kennedy

29: Martin Truex Jr.

30: Danica Patrick

31: Alex Bowman

32: Martin Truex Jr.

33: Paul Menard

34: AJ Allmendinger

35: Aric Almirola

36: Tony Stewart

37: Brian Vickers

38: Matt Kenseth

39: Jimmie Johnson

40: Joe Nemechek

41: Landon Cassill

42: Kyle Busch

43: Johnny Sauter

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