Gordon Cranks Out His First Sprint Cup Series Victory of the Season at Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion and Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon continued his stellar campaign by racing to a tight 0.112 of a second victory ahead of Stewart-Haas Racing's Kevin Harvick.
Gordon, who's led the series championship standings since the April 7 Texas Motor Speedway race, scored his first victory of the campaign when his No. 24 assumed the race lead with eight laps remaining when Brad Keselowski pitted his No. 2 Team Penske Racing ride for fuel.
Harvick and his No. 4 applied pressure through the closing circuits, but Gordon had enough horsepower take the checkered flag.
"I knew we had a fast racecar. Kevin Harvick was tough. I didn't know I could hold him off at the end. When I caught traffic, the car got extremely loose and he was just coming. Luckily, I got the checkered flag.
"This pit crew, (Crew Chief) Alan Gustafson, that's who won this race. We've been building up to this all season long.
"This is so sweet, what a huge weight lifted off this team's shoulders. We're leading the points, but we needed to get to Victory Lane," said Gordon, who became the first three-time
NSCS Kansas winner and ninth different series winner this season.
He will start the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a 15-point edge on second-place driver, defending series champion and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth, who placed 10th at Kanas. Gordon has earned a combined five top-five and eight top-10 finishes through 11 NSCS events this season.
Harvick banked his second top-five and third top-10 finish in his past four starts. That stretch included his second victory of the season at Darlington Raceway April 12. His second straight top-10 finish helps him continue his rebound from a season-opening seven-race stretch in which he earned a March 2 Phoenix International Raceway victory and averaged a 25th-place finish.
He's collected three top-five and five top-10 finishes this season.
"In the end, I ran out of gas coming to pit road. I was paying attention to that and didn't get enough RPM down pit road. I didn't get out of my box very well and Jeff wound up getting by me as we came out of our pit stop.
"I found a groove that worked for me. I slipped there with about 10 or 11 laps to go and lost all the ground I made up," Harvick said.
Kasey Kahne placed third in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5, Team Penske Racing's Joey Logano brought his No. 22 across the finish line fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr., closed out the race top five.
The series makes its fourth Kentucky Speedway appearance June 28 in the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. Tickets start at just $59 and include a prerace concert with country music artist Thomas Rhett. Fans who add a Kroger Fan Zone pass to their order will be able to see Rhett's concert trackside and enjoy infield access throughout the race day.
The Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts will cap a three-race NASCAR weekend that opens with the June 26 Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 and additionally spotlights the Nationwide Series John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
Tickets, campsite and Kroger Fan Zone passes can be purchased through the respective pages of this website, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the speedway Sparta, Ky., ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Kentucky Hwy. 35 N.
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