Jeff Gordon scored his 92nd career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win on Sunday afternoon. In the final race of the first round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Gordon drove his No. 24 Chevrolet to Victory Lane for the fourth time in the 2014 season with a win at Dover International Raceway.
In a race dominated by Kevin Harvick, Gordon took advantage of his bad luck to take away another win. The left inner valve stem of the No. 4 car was knocked out, which caused Harvick to have a tire go down after Lap 250. Earlier in the race, he had reported that there was something wrong with the left-front of his car. His splitter received major damage and the team worked extensively during the caution period to fix it.
Harvick ended the day in 13th-place after the chaos. Leading 223 laps – it was the fourth time this year he led 195 or more laps.
Gordon had to hold off Brad Keselowski late in the race. Just laps before the final set of green-flag pit stops, the two drivers had an intense side-by-side battle for the lead. The No. 24 car prevailed and set sail after that. Keselowski finished second, but was over three seconds behind Gordon.
Jimmie Johnson had his strongest race in several weeks. After dominating the Dover race in June, he finished in the third position in the No. 48 Chevrolet. Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five.
Dover marked the end of the Challenger Round to start the Chase Grid. Kasey Kahne went from four laps down at one point in the race following an unscheduled green-flag pit stop to finish 20th on Sunday. The top-20 result was barely enough to edge out AJ Allmendinger to make it into the Contender Round. Allmendinger’s No. 47 Chevrolet was just two points behind Kahne after being an underdog entering the Chase.
Greg Biffle was eliminated from the Chase along with fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola. The No. 16 car struggled throughout the day as he ran outside of the top-20. However, Biffle came back inside of the top-15 for approximately 150 laps, but fell back to 21st in the final stages of the race. He didn’t finish higher than 16th in any of the first three Chase races. Almirola struggled mightily at Dover after having a fast car throughout the practice sessions over the course of the week. He finished 28th – two laps down in the No. 43 car.
The Sprint Cup Series starts the Contender Round at Kansas Speedway next Sunday. With 12 drivers battling to keep their championship hopes alive, they will need to run well at Kansas, Charlotte and Talladega in order to be one of just eight drivers to move onto the Eliminator Round at Martinsville.