Pocono High Five for Gordon

Jeff Gordon

Gordon's 84th career Sprint Cup victory put him in a three-way tie with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third in career Sprint Cup wins. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jeff Gordon scored his fifth career win at Pocono Raceway and the second of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in Sunday's 5-Hour Energy 500.

Gordon led a race-high 39 laps en route to tying Bill Elliott on the all-time track win list.

The four-time champion’s 84th career Sprint Cup victory put him in a three-way tie with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third in career Sprint Cup wins.

The win marked the first time Gordon has scored multiple victories in a season since 2007 and came 11 races since his last triumph at Phoenix International Raceway in February.

“It feels good to say the least,” Gordon said. “We’ve had some success here in the past and this team gave me such a great car today. We’ve had some challenges lately but this is what we’ve been working so hard for.”

The victory puts Gordon square in the hunt for one of the two Wild Card berths available in this year’s Chase playoff hunt but he’s leery of making any kind of assumptions.

“There’s way too much racing left before we start counting on anything,” Gordon said. “I feel a lot better about it, that’s for darn sure. We’ll just keep racing hard and trying to win and let all of that take care of itself.”

Pole sitter Kurt Busch continued his recent string of solid performances with a second-place finish.

“He’s a true legend in the sport,” Busch said of Gordon’s race winning run. “I couldn’t close the gap on him there at the end. But another good outing for this Shell/Pennzoil Dodge team and we’ll try to keep it rolling here through the summer.”

Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick completed the first five finishers.

Following post-race inspection Kyle Busch's car was found to be 1/16th of an inch too low. A penalty, as well as fine, could be announced early this week.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 10.

It wasn’t a good day for Carl Edwards, who came into the weekend on top of the Sprint Cup Series point standings. Edwards suffered an early race engine problem and was knocked from contention before the race hit the quarter mark.

"One of the valves got in an argument with something in the engine and lost," said Edwards, who maintained the series points lead after fourteen races. "We broke one valve. We don't think it is from an over rev or anything, we just think it was a parts failure."

Edwards didn’t believe the return of shifting to Pocono this year was the culprit for the engine woes.

"No, I don‚t think that had anything to do with it," Edwards said. "I was trying really hard to be easy on the engine and only shifting in one and two and I was short shifting into fourth," he said.

Edwards Rough Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle also suffered a disappointing day in hopes of a second straight Pocono win. His troubles came to a head when he spun off Turn 3 and onto pit road in the late going and finally wound up 27th.

“The car was hard to drive but it wasn’t too bad I guess,” Biffle said. “We were able to move it up through the field but then I got too loose coming off of four and it got away from me and it spun. Unfortunately NASCAR didn’t throw a caution there and that is what killed us there.”

Another pre-race favorite had his hopes thwarted when Denny Hamlin suffered a variety of problems. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was shooting for a fifth career Pocono win but despite leading a stretch was kept out of contention for a victory but pit road issues as well as a flat tire.

“We were a little out of sequence [on pit road],” said Hamlin who finished 19th. “When we left pit road and had a flat tire, it was just slew of problems.”

The race was slowed by only four cautions for a total of 14 laps. There were 18 lead changes among 10 different drivers.

Edwards’ lead has shrunk to six over Jimmie Johnson with Dale Earnhardt Jr.10 behind, Kevin Harvick 11 back and Kyle Busch rounding out the top five.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Michigan International Speedway for next Sunday’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Jeff Gordon

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