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nascartop50

Pocono 500 - Pocono Raceway

One year ago:
After being postponed by rain, Jeff Gordon finished in 9th place, but still remained 10th in the points standings.
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-Qualifying
After back to back weekends of dominating performances by Jeff Gordon and the #24 team, they had a little reality check of sorts. This weekend Gordon will start from the outside of the seventh row, in 14th. Ricky Rudd, who finished a close second to Gordon last weekend grabbed the pole for this weekend's event.

But, be of good cheer Gordon fans, Jeff was fastest in Happy Hour practice. How much of that speed transfers to the race with the new time schedule is yet to be seen, however.

-Race

This weekend, Jeff Gordon had his hot-streak halted a bit, but his charge to a fourth Winston Cup title did not cool down at all. Gordon, who lead 82 laps to pick up five bonus points for leading the most, was caught up in an odd series of caution flag/pit stop events that left him back in seventh place. Seventh place wouldn't normally be so bad, but the caution came out before Gordon and others had a chance to pit, so many cars separated him from the leader. To make matters worse, the car had an aero push. That is, whenever he was out in front there was plenty of front aero downforce, but when he was behind another car the draft took his front-end downforce away. Gordon had a hard time passing, and the dominant-looking car wasn't so dominant in traffic. Soon, Gordon was twelve seconds behind leader Dale Jarrett.


Gordon, who bested Rudd last week, wound up second to him this time.

However, a caution came out on lap 158 for front-running rookie Casey Atwood's smoking machine, and Gordon came out of the pits third behind Jarrett and Rudd. It was a three-way battle, hindered by the tail-end-of-the-lead-lap car of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Jarrett followed Earnhardt, but didn't want to pass him for fear that he would then be passed by Rudd. Finally, Jarrett made his move as Earnhardt got up high. Then, Rudd passed Jarrett as Gordon tried to follow. However, Gordon fell back in line behind Jarrett, but passed him on lap 194. Six laps wasn't enough, though, for Gordon to catch the fleeing Rudd.

Jeff Gordon did extend his points lead to 36 over Jarrett, who finished one position behind Gordon but did not lead the most laps. Gordon gained five bonus points for leading a lap, and increased his lead by ten points.

Next weekend, the Winston Cup series heads to a road coarse, Jeff Gordon's specialty.

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