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Jeff Gordon takes Pocono victory

Jeff Gordon won his second Cup race of 2011, all but assuring his passage into the Chase, after strong restarts and a flawless final pit stop put him in front of polesitter Kurt Busch.
Jeff Gordon took his second win of the 2011 Sprint Cup season with the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway - his 84th career win in 631 Cup races - to become only the fourth driver with multiple wins so far this year. That last fact alone should mean he makes it through to the post-season Chase via the wildcard even if he didn't get through on points alone.

Gordon took the lead by beating Kurt Busch out of the pits under caution on lap 157 and then jumping Juan Montoya at the restart; Gordon led for only 39 laps in the race while Denny Hamlin (who led for 76) suffered a flat tyre late in the race because of a missing valve stem, which caused bodywork and brake damage and sent him back to pit road.

A perfect late-race green flag stop on lap 177 clinched the deal for Gordon, who agreed that his crew shared the victory: "You guys won that one in the pits! Way to go!" he said over the team radio as he took the chequered flag.

Kyle Busch came in third place after early friction with old rival Kevin Harvick caused NASCAR to issue both drivers with a warning. Harvick seemed to be doing all he could to antagonise Busch first by repeatedly crowding him as they battled for position and then later following Busch to the inside and staying glued to the #18's bumper. NASCAR told both teams to stop fooling around and concentrate on the racing, which infuriated Busch.

"The #29 is all over me!" Busch retorted, and his crew chief Dave Rogers sought to calm his driver down by agreeing. "Keep your composure in that race car, bud," Rogers replied; "I've lost mine about four times already."

However Busch's troubles were not over when he finished the race in third place at the chequered flag. NASCAR subsequently announced that the #18 had failed post race inspection with a height issue on the left-front and had been removed to the NASCAR R&D Center for further investigation - serious penalties could follow later in the week.

Championship leader Carl Edwards suffered an engine failure 59 laps into the race and was forced to retire, meaning that his previous lead over Jimmie Johnson in Cup points has been dramatically cut back from 40pts to just six.

"One of the valves got in an argument with something in the engine and lost," Edwards explained. "We broke one valve. We don't think it was from an over-rev or anything. We just think it was a parts failure." He said it didn't seem to be related to the return of the need for drivers to shift gears during the Pocono event, after NASCAR made changes to gear ratio settings for the race.

Full results and times available.

Full race report available.



Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon celebrates winning the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway, his record-tying 5th victory at the track. [Picture Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Despite leading a race-high 76 laps, Denny Hamlin experienced trouble on lap 159, having to pit twice after his left rear tyre went flat. He finished 19th. [Picture Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images]
Kurt Busch leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to the green flag to start the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway in June 2011 [Picture Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images]
Jeff Gordon and Juan Montoya battled for position throughout the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway. [Picture Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, smiles at Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate a Driver Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Cars race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Johnny Sauter, driver of the #98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota, leads the field through the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, crosses the finishline to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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jesse - Unregistered

June 14, 2011 11:47 PM

Can't find anywhere to say this so will say it here. Is it just me or am I the only one that can't understand why we must suffer through 2 pocono races every year what a Boring stupid race and then to have to watch it twice come on NASCAR lose one of them if not both please I beg u



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