|Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs|
Nothing like a little night racing for the Sprint Cup Series at Texas. Would the four Hendrick drivers ride the wild bull and find a victory for Hendrick Motorsports ... win No. 200?
Kasey Kahne, No. 5
Out of the Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kasey Kahne qualified highest, starting the race in fifth. Kahne started off his night with handling issues, causing him to slip back and lose positions. On Lap 49 Kahne got blocked in on pit road, costing the No. 5 valuable time. Kahne overcame the pit road incident and maintained position in the top 10 in the remaining laps. Ending his string of bad luck, Kahne finished 7th and is now 27th in the point standings.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24
Jeff Gordon didn’t have a great qualifying attempt; starting 34th seemed to put him out of the picture even before the drop of the flag. But from the moment the green flag waved, Gordon’s car was like a rocket. On Lap 101, after a caution and good pit strategy, Gordon lined up seventh on the restart. Gordon ended his night 4th after having to fight his way from the back of the pack. With that finish, he gained four positions in the points standing, ranking 17th as we head into Kansas.
“We've been running so good this season,” Gordon said. “It was nice to have everything come together. This team did an amazing job. What a race car we had. We drove up into the top 5 (from 34th).”
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48
Starting 10th, Jimmie Johnson had a fast car from the start of the race. Johnson’s pit crew was also on fire all night long, making great time for the No. 48. On Lap 100 Johnson restarted third and battled Martin Truex Jr. for second. Thirteen laps later after finally passing Truex, Johnson passed leader Greg Biffle to take the lead. Johnson ended up leading 156 laps, and looked to have the race in the bag when lapped traffic caused Johnson to slow down, allowing Biffle to take the lead and win the race. Johnson finished his night 2nd and now ranks 8th in the points.
“Definitely disappointed, but we had a great racecar, and there’s a lot to be proud of today,” Johnson said on not winning the race.
“Our pit stops were amazing. We had a very fast race car. I just got tangled up in some lap traffic. The (No.) 16 made a great move, and he got by me. I was pacing him there at the end.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88
Starting 16th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked to have a fast car early. He proved it by cracking the top 10 by Lap 50. Earnhardt Jr. complained a lot about the strong winds during the race, which made his car handle poorly. After overcoming the ill-handling conditions, Earnhardt Jr. battled in the top 10 and ended up finishing his day 10th. He holds at 3rd in the point standings.
"Oh man, the wind was something else!" Earnhardt Jr. said post-race. "It was terrible for me. Either that or my car was really bad, I don't know. Down the front straightaway, it was weaving around and bobbing. You didn't know which way it was going to go."