News & Multimedia

Earnhardt Jr. Captures Second Win of Season in Pocono

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in position to pounce on Sunday, punching his ticket to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by winning his second race this season and his first-ever at Pocono Raceway.
 
It took a little racing luck.
 
Runner-up Brad  Keselowski was terrific in clean air. What he lacked was a clean grille.
 
On Sunday, when Keselowski’s car began to overheat due to a piece of trash on his front end, Earnhardt roared by, becoming the fourth consecutive Hendrick Motorsports driver to put a Chevrolet in Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway.
 
"Brad had the better car; he had me beat," said Earnhardt, who has known his share of late-race misfortune. Take the third race of the season at Las Vegas, when he ran out of gas on the final lap, enabling Keselowski to win.
 
"I’ve lost some in some strange ways, so it feels good to win one like that," Earnhardt said.
 
Earnhardt’s triumph in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Pocono 400 gave him two victories this season, his first multiple-win campaign since 2004 when he won six times. He has seen and appreciated the gradual-but-steady strides his team has made.
 
"The difference between running fourth at the end of this race and running second is a very small thing," said Earnhardt, praising the effort of his crew chief Steve Letarte in the process. "In years past, it was someone else seizing the opportunity. We’d be third or fourth, watching it happen.
 
"Each year we’ve seen a progression of performance. What I’m seeing us do and how I’m seeing us run makes a lot of sense to me. We’ve been fast every week. We started [to improve] toward the middle of last year. We haven’t peaked, but we’re certainly doing some of our best work right now."
 
Keselowski led 95 of Sunday’s 160 laps and led Earnhardt by more than one second when his engine temperature forced him to take decisive action with five laps to go. Keselowski tucked in behind the lapped car of Danica Patrick, hoping to draw the debris off his grille.
 
"I felt really bad for Brad to see him in a situation to be that desperate," Earnhardt said. "He’s a good friend … he had it won. We weren’t going to get to him. I could not believe he was going to do that when I saw him go up the race track behind the No. 10 (Patrick's car). His temperature had to be super-hot for him to do that."
 
Keselowski said he was desperate and felt he had no choice.
 
"There was debris on the grille, so I had to do something," Keselowski said. "[Maybe] I should have just ran it to see if it would have blown off … but I had to make some kind of move or the car wasn’t going to make it. The car was starting to blow up. It was going to break or I was going to get passed because we were really down on power in the straightaway.
 
"I took a shot to clear it off and not lose time, but I misjudged it. [The move] made enough difference for me to lose the lead in the process. When I got down in the corner and the car finally got sideways, I realized I’d made a mistake."
 
In 28 previous Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Earnhardt had managed seven top-five finishes including a pair of second-place finishes despite what he thought were some excellent cars.
 
"We’ve had so many opportunities slip away," he said. "We’ve been so close. So it feels so good to get into Victory Lane here. I used to come here as a kid because it was a summer race. I just always wanted to win at this place.  We’ve had some good cars here, so it feels good to finish the deal."
 
Kurt Busch finished third, polesitter Denny Hamlin fourth and rookie Kyle Larson took fifth. Hendrick driver Jimmie Johnson, winner of the previous two Sprint Cup races, started 20th, overcame a pit road collision with Marcos Ambrose that dropped him as far back as 31st, and wound up sixth.
 

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Earnhardt Jr. Captures Second Win of Season in Pocono
 
Earnhardt Jr. Captures Second Win of Season in Pocono
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in position to pounce on Sunday, punching his ticket to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by winning his second race this season and his first-ever at Pocono Raceway.
Read More
Related Media
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
 
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Receives 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award
In recognition of his career achievements as a champion driver, team owner and philanthropist, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the recipient of the 2014 NMPA Myers Brothers Award, a prestigious accolade recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing.
Read More
CICOA at IMS
 
Carpenter Helps Celebrate CICOA Meals & More Program's 18 Millionth Meal
The CICOA Meals & More program works to combat that, providing 2,000 meals every weekday in clients’ homes and at 27 Central Indiana meal sites. And on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, CICOA served its 18 millionth meal to a senior guest.
Read More
Kevin Harvick Wins the 2014 NASCAR Championship
 
Harvick's Move To Stewart-Haas Pays Off With a Championship
The 38-year-old Californian finally grabbed his title on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning the final race of the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase. An “elimination” format was implemented for the final 10 races of the season, emphasizing consistency and winning with a few sudden-death moments, and Harvick answered the call each time.
Read More
NASCAR at Homestead
 
Monday Racing Roundup: Harvick Takes it All at Homestead
Title contenders Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman battled near the front virtually all afternoon on Sunday at Homestead, and Harvick took the Sprint Cup not by just finishing the highest of the four – but by winning the race.
Read More
NASCAR Chase Final 4
 
One Race, One Champion: NASCAR Championship Preview
Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman are the last four standing from the original 16 that opened the Chase at Chicagoland in mid-September. Few could have predicted that foursome – and not a single fan did out of the tens of thousands who submitted Chase grids on a NASCAR.com online contest.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 587
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Phil Sparks at (317) 492-6463 or email at psparks@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
Where would we be without our beloved fans? We highlighted the biggest IMS fans of 2014 on the blog: http://t.co/R9dRNjaEz2
about 2 hours ago