Hendrick Garage: Pocono

How sweet it is ... Jeff Gordon celebrates in victory lane with daughter Ella after winning
Sunday's 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway. Credit: Karel Zubris for Skirts and Scuffs
Good 'ole Pocono. This time to make the racing more exciting, shifting was involved. For the Hendrick drivers, would Pocono prove to be a good track - would one lucky driver win or would "the closer" (Kevin Harvick) strike again?

Mark Martin

For Mark Martin, Pocono is his "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" track. He has finished second 6 times here and has never won at this track. He is very strong here and even qualified 10th, a good starting place. But sadly, Martin wouldn’t have a good day; he kept sliding back instead of going forward. Martin even went a lap down but recovered and got the lucky dog; it was then it seemed the car was moving forward and gaining ground. Martin ended the day 18th; he is 15th in the point standings.

Jeff Gordon

Well Mr. Jeff Gordon, let’s just say way to go! Jeff Gordon had a great ... No Fanatics’ day! Gordon made history by winning his 84th Cup race, tying him with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip third for all-time wins. Gordon was like a rocket all day, making great pit stops and having great position on the track. A very, and I mean very, great day for the 24 team. Jeff Gordon finished 1st (duh) and is now 11th in points; he may just be that wildcard driver in the Chase.

A few quotes from Gordon:

"I really can't even express in words what it means to tie Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison at 84 wins because I just never thought it would ever happen for me, or really when I got in this sport for anybody to win that many races is amazing."

"You know how I want to be remembered? I want to make it to that speech. I've been to two Hall of Fame events. I want to be on that stage mixing it up with the other people when that day comes, and hopefully it does, and I want to be able to express it then because I think I'll have had the moment and the time and the appreciation to truly embrace it and understand what it means.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets ready to strap into the No. 88
at Pocono Raceway during practice Friday.
Credit: Karel Zubris for Skirts and Scuffs
Dale Jr. doesn’t have a very good track record at Pocono; he hasn’t had a good finish there since 2008 (when he finished 4th in the spring and 12th in the fall). But with the season he has been having, maybe he could have a good race. His starting spot of 21st could have been very tricky for Junior. But the 88 had a really fast, really super car - yes, he was in the top 10 all day and the car was great and consistent. With 30 to go, Junior restarted in 18th and drove the car all the way to a 6th place finish - how about that! Junior finished 6th and is 3rd in points, -10 from 1st place.

Junior quotes:

"I'm really happy to be running well and being up front," he said. "It's surely a difference from the last couple of years, so I feel fortunate and feel lucky to be able to compete."

"On the last restart of the race, we were 18th with 30 to go. And we drove back up to sixth, so I'm real happy about that."

Jimmie Johnson

Johnson does fairly well at Pocono; he has 3 wins there but none since 2004. Johnson had a decent day at Pocono and even went for the win on the last lap but came up short. There was an issue on pit road with the lugnuts during a green flag pit cycle, but the 48 team overcame it and went on to finish the race 4th and is 2nd in points, -6 from first.

Jimmie quotes:

"It was a great day in the pits and on the track. Man, I really thought I had a shot there on that restart at the end and kind of got stuck in the middle and lost a bunch of track position and just had to recover from that. But it was a great day today. I’m very happy to see the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) in victory lane. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has been working very hard to make sure that the cars are getting speed in them and they’ve done that. Our engine package held up today with the abuse we gave it. It was a great day all in all.”
Hendrick Garage: Pocono Hendrick Garage: Pocono Reviewed by Lacy Page on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 Rating: 5