2011-06-16 / Sports

Jeff Gordon Cruises To Pocono Victory

By Gerald Hodges

Jeff Gordon Jeff Gordon POCONO, Pa. – Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway, 2.92-seconds ahead of polesitter Kurt Busch, and 4.25- seconds ahead of his brother Kyle.

“A lot of hard work went into this win,” said Gordon. “We know it takes working as a team to win races and championships. I don’t feel like I’m locked into the Chase yet, but I do feel a lot better after today’s race.”

It was Gordon’s second win of the year and fifth at Pocono. He moved up from 13th to 11th in Chase standings. It was his 84th career win, tying the four- time champion with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third on the career victory list.

“It was cool,” said runnerup Kurt Busch. “I’ve got to give it to Jeff. The old boy ran good today. We threw all we had at him, but it wasn’t enough.”

Gordon will reach his 40th birthday on August 4.

“We had a great car and I wish we could have gotten up there and battled for the lead,” said third-place finisher Kyle Busch. “We had a third- or fourth-place car and that’s all we could do.”

Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Points leader Carl Edwards took a big hit as his No. 99 Roush Fenway Ford developed engine problems midway of the race and he was unable to finish.

“It was tough out there,” Edwards said. “As a driver you want to go out and get every bit of power out of your engine that you can, and sometimes things like this happen.”

There were four cautions, but they were all for debris on the track.

No wrecks, no bumping or grinding, just 200 laps of cars going round and round.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 14 of 36: 1. Edwards-492, 2. Johnson-486, 3. Earnhardt- 482, 4. Harvick-481, 5. Kyle Busch-467, 6. Kurt Busch- 457, 7. Kenseth- 448, 8. Bowyer-419, 9. Stewart-417, 10. Newman-417, 11. J. Gordon 411, 12. Hamlin-408

Hornaday gets Texas truck win

FORT WORTH, Texas – Ron Hornaday Jr. won the Camping World Truck Series race after leader Johnny Sauter was black-flagged for changing lanes on the night’s final restart.

“Good way to steal one,” Hornaday said. “I think we had a third- or a fifth-place truck, but it worked out for us. On that restart, he was the leader, but he kind of blocked, basically.”

Sauter, who had passed Hornaday for the lead with a powerful run through Turn 4 on Lap 130, was penalized for moving from the outside lane to in front of Hornaday before crossing the start/finish line on a greenwhite checkered restart on Lap 167. The race went 168 laps, one beyond its scheduled distance.

Asked at what point he realized Sauter had broken the restart rule, Hornaday said, “Soon as the green dropped he turned in my lane, and I was yelling, ‘He’s in my lane!’ At that time we had a second-place truck, but it was a (good) call. I spun my tires, he spun his tires, and his spotter must have said, ‘Clear.’”

“You go into another guy’s lane, better give it back before you get to Turn 1. Sticky call. But you can’t change lanes until you pass the start/finish line. And I hate that rule.”

Parker Kligerman, David Mayhew, Brian Ickler, Joey Coulter, Ricky Carmichael, Ryan Sieg, Miguel Paludo, James Buescher and Justin Loftin rounded out the top-10.

Top-10 leaders after 8 of 24: 1. Sauter-326, 2. Whitt- 306, 3. Hornaday-293, 4. Dillon 291, 5. Crafton-285, 6. Peters 280, 7. Buescher-279, 8. Kligerman-270, 9. Coulter- 254, 10. Gaughan-248

Richard Childress was fined $150,000 by NASCAR last week for beating up on Kyle Busch, but NASCAR Chairman Brian France has a lot messier personal problem.

According to the Charlotte Observer, France was back in court last week trying to void an agreement with his ex-wife that calls for him to pay her millions of dollars, as well as more than $40,000 a month in alimony and child support.

“She got a boatload of money,” France’s attorney, Johnny Stephenson, told the judge.

Megan France’s attorneys told the judge their client had not broken the separation agreement, and they accused Brian France of refusing to pay her the millions he’d promised in the agreement.

On Friday, Judge Jena Culler ordered Brian France to pay his ex-wife alimony and child support in full and on time.

“Brian France has selectively chosen the provisions of the separation agreement that he wants to enforce,” Megan France’s attorney told the court. “Yet at the same time, he’s repudiated his obligations under that contract.”

Brian France’s attorney argued that Megan France is not in financial distress.

“ You know how much cash she got. You know how much real estate she got,” Stephenson told the judge. “You know that it is an enormous sum of money. Even among rich folks, it’s an enormous sum of money.”

Brian France had agreed to pay Megan France a total of $9 million as well as $32,000 a month in alimony for 10 years and $10,000 a month in child support, according to court documents. Their separation agreement also spells out the custody terms for their young twins and provisions about their upbringing.

Thought for the day: If your wife does all the cooking and you do all the eating, don’t complain.

Weekend racing: Both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are at the two-mile Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., which has a seating capacity of 137,00. The Trucks have an off week.

Sat., June 18, Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250, race 15 of 34, Starting time: 3:30 p.m.; TV: ABC.

Sun., June 19, Sprint Cup Sour Cream Dip 400, race 15 of 36, Starting time: 1 p.m.; TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: Which two NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks are road courses?

Last week’s question: Which driver helped bring car owner Richard Childress to racing prominence? Answer. Dale Earnhardt.

Contact the Racing Reporter at hodges@race500.com.

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