Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jeff Gordon Wins at Kansas

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Jeff Gordon held off a hard-charging Kevin Harvick to win the 5-Hour Energy 400 from Kansas Speedway on Saturday night.

Gordon led after the final round of green-flag pit stops, but Harvick ran him down on the final lap when Gordon got caught behind some lapped traffic.

Photo courtesy Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
“Kevin was tough; he was so strong,” said Gordon.  “I didn’t know if I could hold him off and I almost couldn’t.”

“I thought if we got in front of him we could hold him off.  And on that last pit stop, we cycled around in front of him.  We just pulled away because our car was so strong.”

Gordon had been the points leader coming into the weekend, but he had said earlier in the weekend that he would trade it all in for just one victory.

“I knew we had a fast racecar,” said Gordon.  “We’ve been bringing fast cars every weekend.  It’s been giving me some confidence every time.”

“What a huge weight off this team’s shoulders.  We’ve been leading the points, but it’s great to get this win.”

Harvick started on the pole and led a race-high 119 laps.  But he fell short after falling behind on the final pit stop.

“We ran out of gas coming to pit road,” said Harvick.  “He [Gordon] wound up getting by me there.  I slipped there with 10 or 11 laps to go, and lost all that ground we had made up.”

The start of the race was delayed by rain in the area by about 30 minutes.  When the race finally went green, Harvick started on the pole after setting a new track-record on Friday.  He quickly ran away from the field, and led all the way through the first round of green-flag pit stops.

The first caution of the night came out on lap 47 for a spin by Clint Bowyer.  Bowyer got loose coming out of Turn 2, and he spun down the track.  

When the race restarted, Brad Keselowski started in the lead.  He led for only one lap, as Harvick re-took the lead on lap 54.

On lap 60, a 4-car wreck brought out the caution. David Ragan got together with Michael Annett, Landon Cassill and Ryan Truex on the frontstretch.

Harvick led the field back to the green flag, and he had to hold off a 3-wide challenge from Jimmie Johnson and Keselowski to keep the lead.

On lap 72, Denny Hamlin spun coming out of Turn 2.  Much like Bowyer’s earlier spin, he got loose coming out of the corner and spun down the track.  

Harvick led when the race restarted on lap 75.  He led until the next round of green flag pit stops, when Joey Logano cycled around as the leader.

On lap 111, Marcos Ambrose spun coming out of Turn 4 to bring out the caution.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led on the next restart, but Logano quickly re-took the lead.

On lap 150, Jamie McMurray cut a tire and hit the wall, and his car erupted in flames coming to pit road.  

Kasey Kahne led the field to the green, but Logano took the lead one lap later. 

Kurt Busch spun on lap 180 to bring out the sixth caution of the night.

Johnson led at the restart on lap 185, but a wreck on lap 187 brought out the caution once again.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 195, but Logano quickly got around him to take the lead.

Kurt Busch spun on lap 203 to bring out the final caution of the night.

Harvick led the field back to the green flag on lap 208.  He led until the final round of green flag pit stops began on lap 238.  When stops had cycled around by lap 259, Gordon was in the lead and Harvick was in second.

Harvick closed in on Gordon during the final laps, but he held off the 4 car to pick up his 89th career victory.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Jeff Gordon
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Joey Logano
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Carl Edwards
7. Danica Patrick
8. Aric Almirola
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Ryan Newman
12. Kyle Larson
13. Brad Keselowski
14. Brian Vickers
15. Kyle Busch
16. Greg Biffle
17. Paul Menard
18. Denny Hamlin
19. Austin Dillon
20. Tony Stewart
21. Martin Truex Jr.
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Clint Bowyer
24. Marcos Ambrose
25. Michael Annett
26. Casey Mears
27. Ryan Blaney
28. Cole Whitt
29. Kurt Busch
30. AJ Allmendinger
31. Joe Nemechek
32. Reed Sorenson
33. Josh Wise
34. Travis Kvapil
35. Alex Bowman
36. Just Allgaier
37. David Gilliland
38. David Ragan
39. Jamie McMurray
40. Timmy Hill
41. J.J. Yeley
42. Landon Cassill
43. Ryan Truex

Next Saturday, the Sprint Cup Series heads home to Charlotte Motor Speedway.  The Sprint All-Star Race can be seen on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. EST, only on FOX Sports 1.

Photo courtesy Jerry Markland/Getty Images

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