The rundown: Commentary on all 43 finishers
June 09, 2014, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com
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1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Junior's win with a late pass of Brad Keselowski gave Hendrick Motorsports its fourth consecutive team victory at Pocono -- all by different drivers. It also ensured Earnhardt would end the season with multiple victories for the first time in 10 years. Fourteen races into the season, he's one of four drivers with two victories. See his highlights here.
2. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Of the 10 fastest laps run during Sunday's race, Keselowski notched seven of them -- including a 175.890 mph circuit on Lap 152 that held up as the quickest of the day. Debris on his grille ruined what appeared to be a surefire victory and relegated the veteran to his second consecutive runner-up finish. See his highlights here.
3. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. A third-place run was Busch's best showing since winning in March at Martinsville. Although the SHR driver still has more DNFs (five) than top-fives (three), he put more ground between himself and Michael Annett, who is 30th in the standings, which is crucial for Busch to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. See his race highlights here.
4. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The highest-finishing Toyota, this is Hamlin's third consecutive top-10 in the June Pocono race. Hamlin started from the Coors Light Pole position, but was bumped out of the way by Brad Keselowski on the first lap. The No. 2's apology over the radio was met with silence from the JGR driver. See his highlights here.
5. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. In his first career NASCAR national series start at Pocono, Larson also led his first lap of 2014. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender led six of them by the time the afternoon ended, and his charge through the field resulted in his third top-five of the season and keeps him in 10th place in the points standings. See his race highlights here.
6. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. In fifth place at the time of the third caution just shy of the midway point, 'Six-Time' collided with Marcos Ambrose leaving his stall. He had to put his car in reverse and get back into his box for additional service. Johnson lost 18 spots in a moment that effectively ended his bid for three consecutive victories. Watch that incident here.
Miscommunication on a pit stop cost Jimmie Johnson a shot at the win.
7. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Newman now has four consecutive top-10s at Pocono, and although he fell just short of his first top-five of 2014, Sunday's result tied for his best finish of the year. See his highlights here.
8. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon's run personified the power of Hendrick engines at the 2.5-mile Pocono layout. His team had three drivers finish in the top eight, and third-place finisher Kurt Busch had Hendrick horsepower under his hood. He managed a top-10 despite being mired in traffic throughout the event and led the field in percentage of quality passes at 60.5. See Gordon's post-race interview here.
9. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. For the first time this year, Truex pieced together top-10 finishes in two consecutive races. That's the good news -- the bad news is that because those top-10s have been so rare, Truex is still 25th in the points standings.
10. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. A 10th-place run Sunday tied McMurray's best result at the track since he joined the Ganassi squad in 2010. It came after early contact with Matt Kenseth that crushed the No. 20 car, but apparently didn't affect the No. 1 too badly. Watch video of that wreck here.
11. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. The 35-year-old continues his slow climb up the standings. Two weeks ago, Bowyer was in 20th place. Now he's 16th. The No. 15 team would certainly like to be in contention for more wins, but a few more solid showings gets them in the Chase conversation. See his race highlights here.
12. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch had a car that was bad on the long run early, needed a caution on Lap 61 to get on the lead lap and was involved in a wreck with Kasey Kahne late. Yet by the end of the race, his No. 18 had been repaired enough for a strong run into the top 15. Watch video here of the work done after his incident with Kahne.
13. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart had a rare personal misfire, getting caught speeding on pit road that sent the driver from first place to 17th with just 40 laps to go. "I'm sorry guys, I'll do everything I can to make it up," he called over the radio. 'Smoke' had a car capable of winning, too. He ran the 11th-fastest lap of the day on Lap 78 (175.164 mph), the first driver not named Keselowski or Earnhardt on the list of the fastest laps run. See his race highlights here.
Tony Stewart publicly owned up to his mistake on pit road.
14. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Another race, another bout of bad luck for Harvick. Running second on Lap 117, he flatly called out "Flat left front tire" to his team -- you can listen to driver audio on RaceView throughout this year. Two laps later, the driver said his track bar was broken. It took a caution by teammate Danica Patrick on Lap 137 to get him back on the lead lap, so a 14th-place finish after all that may be acceptable to the team. See his race highlights here.
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. For the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500, Stenhouse had the best finish among the Roush Fenway Racing trio of drivers. Of his four top-15s this year, three have come on tracks longer than 2 miles.
16. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. For the second consecutive week, Biffle was caught up in a wreck with his teammate. Last week it was a full-on hit with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. This time it was catching some of the debris scattered by Carl Edwards after a big, late wreck. Watch video of that wreck here.
17. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Pocono was a race in which Dillon ran to basically his exact average of the year. His average finishing position through 14 races into his rookie season is 16.6, and he recovered from a pass-through penalty served for changing lanes on the restart.
18. David Ragan, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. It was not certain if Ragan would run Sunday's race. His wife, Jacquelyn, is due to give birth any day and the No. 34 team had Mike Bliss on standby. Bliss wasn't needed at Pocono, and Ragan notched his best finish of the year, which was punctuated by his spotter calling out on Lap 47: "Still no phone calls from Concord, N.C., saying he's going to be a dad, so we're clear." For that type of in-car audio for the remainder of the season, subscribe to RaceView at a new, lower price.
19. Brian Vickers, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers ran the fastest lap of the first practice at Pocono, but his car regressed as the weekend went on. He was in the 20s at times Sunday before gaining positions over the last 20 laps.
20. Michael Annett, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. Annett's 20th-place effort is his second top-20 of the year, and the rookie nearly led his first lap of the year late as teams were on differing pit strategies.
21. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing. Since his consecutive top-10s at Richmond and Talladega, 'Dinger has finished outside the top 20 in four consecutive races. Testing at Sonoma this week kept the team from getting to the track until right before practice on Friday, and it struggled to find speed all weekend.
22. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Sunday's result ended a five-race streak of top-20 finishes for Almirola, who had gained five spots in the standings over that stretch. He's just two points behind Tony Stewart for 18th place.
23. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. At the very least, Mears is consistent. The results for his past four races: 26th, 24th, 25th, 23rd. He did draw the ire of the NASCAR Tower during the final caution period, though. "Tell him to get to the end of the field," Race Director David Hoots said. "I'm tired of fooling with him!" To listen to similar audio for the remainder of the season, subscribe to RaceView.
24. Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Ambrose was part of a major race story line when he collided with Jimmie Johnson on pit road approximately midway through the race. It wasn't his team's fault, though. "If you see that 9 car's spotter, tell him that was my fault," Chad Knaus radioed. Ambrose, along with AJ Allmendinger, led all drivers with 141 green-flag passes.
25. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. It was a short-lived time at the top for Kenseth. The veteran lost his spot atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings after just one week, and he has an incident with Jamie McMurray to blame. Contact with the No. 1 car destroyed his nose. "I don't know, I didn't really hit him that hard. I just don't have any support up there," he told his team on the radio.
The No. 20 Toyota needed major repairs after hitting Jamie McMurray's No. 1 Chevrolet.
26. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Menard fell out of the current Chase Grid on Sunday with his worst finish since April 12 at Darlington. His No. 27 Chevrolet at one point was stuck in fourth gear, which made for an interesting restart.
27. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Allgaier led six laps late in the race as teams were on varying pit strategies. It's his first time in front of the pack since leading four laps in the season-opening Daytona 500.
28. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. A 28th-place result is better than Gilliland's average finish this year, and it was the first time since Richmond he finished on the lead lap.
29. Travis Kvapil, No. 32 Ford, FAS Lane Racing. In his 10th start of the year, Kvapil recorded his best finish. It was the fourth top-30 of the year for the Frank Stoddard-owned car.
30. Cole Whitt, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. Whitt led a trio of BK Racing drivers who finished in consecutive order. It's the fifth time in six races with the team that Whitt has earned the highest finish among its three drivers.
31. Alex Bowman, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Bowman had trouble making his way through the field, a frustration he voiced on Lap 124: "Frustrated about being in the back. It's like we didn't change anything, nothing ... " he called after a pit stop.
32. Ryan Truex, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing. Truex delivered one of the funnier one-liners over the radio Sunday, deadpanning when asked about the first caution of the race: "There's a fire in the infield." And there was. To listen to similar audio for the remainder of the season, subscribe to RaceView.
33. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Racing. Cassill's effort at Pocono was his best finish since nearly breaking into the top 10 at Talladega in April. Through 12 races, he has seven top-30s in 12 starts.
34. Reed Sorenson, No. 36 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. He rallied down the stretch, moving up six spots in the last 20 laps to take 34th place. It was Sorenson's third instance of running at the finish in the last four races, coming on the heels of three straight DNFs.
35. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. The pre-race TNT All-Access video on Wise -- who is similar to Jimmie Johnson when it comes to fitness -- was the highlight of the day for the 31-year-old, who finished two laps down.
36. Timmy Hill, No. 66 Toyota, Jay Robinson Racing. The former NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year worked his way to a high-water mark of 35th place by Lap 110 before settling for a 35th-place effort. It marked Hill's first start in Jay Robinson Racing's No. 66 and his best finish in four Sprint Cup starts this season.
37. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Patrick inadvertently played a major role in the ending of Sunday's race. With five laps remaining, leader Brad Keselowski tried to use the No. 10, a lapped car, to clear his debris. Following Patrick up the track allowed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to have an opening on the inside, which he used en route to victory. "That was the best I could do, I would have really screwed everybody if I didn't let off," Patrick radioed. "There's nothing I could have done different there with the 2." See her highlights here.
Danica Patrick played a big role in the final laps, even though she wasn't challenging for the win.
38. J.J. Yeley, No. 44 Chevrolet, Xxxtreme Motorsports. Despite bringing out the third caution period of the race when his No. 44 car began dropping debris in Turn 1, Yeley managed his best finish of the season in 38th, four laps down. It also marked the first non-DNF for the Xxxtreme Motorsport team in four starts this season.
39. Alex Kennedy, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. The New Mexico native received praise over the radio for his smooth handling of the No. 33 Chevy on pit stops. This was his first Sprint Cup start of the year, and the fourth of his career.
40. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske Racing. Logano called out he was having fun on Lap 140. That changed before the race ended, as the driver limped to his worst finish of the season. "I think I'm blowing up," he told his team. "Doesn't sound right. I'm limping it around right now."
41. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards' car ended up in pieces for the second time in the past five races. There was nothing he could do to avoid the fluid dropped by Kasey Kahne after the 5 crunched the wall on Lap 143, when Edwards was running in the top 15. "Yeah, I got in his oil and couldn't get out of the way. The 5 is tore up. Damn."
42. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Kahne blamed the No. 18 of Kyle Busch for causing his hard hit into the wall, which brought out the caution on Lap 143. "The 18 wrecked us. We're killed," Kahne told his crew -- with a pair of expletives laced in there for good measure. For in-car audio for the remainder of the season, subscribe to RaceView.
43. Dave Blaney, No. 77 Ford, Randy Humphrey Racing. Turn 1 presented a problem for Blaney all week. Spinning out during the first round of knockout qualifying on Friday relegated the driver to a 43rd-place starting position. Losing control in roughly the same spot during the race brought out the caution on Lap 80, and put Blaney eight laps down, ensuring he'd finish 43rd.