NASCAR has its ninth different winner of 2014, and his name is Jeff Gordon.
The No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon was able to pass Kevin Harvick for the top spot during the final round of pit stops in the 5-hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway Saturday night.
Gordon then held off a hard-charging No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick in the final laps to claim his first win of the season. Harvick mustered a remarkable push on the final lap, tearing apart Gordon's one second advantage, but needed a couple more car lengths to get the job done. Behind them, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne was third.
"I knew we had a fast race car," Gordon said. "We've had fast cars all year."
As Harvick worked his way back towards the front, drivers such as Kahne and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford of Joey Logano spent time up front. Despite battling a clutch issue in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson ran strong in the final 100 laps. Logano took the lead from Johnson, but 'Six-Time' was able to remain close.. He did give up his track position though, when he headed down pit road during a caution with 65 laps remaining, as the other front-runners stayed out.
Harvick was among those who opted not to pit and soon returned to the lead. He was still the man everyone was chasing as the final green-flag cycle got underway, but in the process of pitting, lost ground to Gordon.
"In the end, I ran out of gas coming down pit road," Harvick said. "I found a groove that worked for me. Got loose with about 10 to go and lost the ground I made up, but I got it back."
As Harvick gained ground in the final laps, Gordon grew a little concerned.
"Kevin was tough," Gordon said. "He had a really fast car. I didn't know if I was going to be able to hold him off."
After that caution, the yellow flag was retired for the night, necessitating one last green-flag stop for everyone, including Johnson. When others began hitting pit road with about 30 to go, Johnson was able to stay out and lead several laps before finally stopping for the last time. Keselowski was the final car to duck down to pit road, giving up the top spot with just eight laps remaining.
Logano finished fourth, and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five. The No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards was sixth, and Danica Patrick scored a career-best seventh-place finish in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford of Aric Almirola was eighth, Johnson ninth, and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Matt Kenseth finished a respectable 10th.
There were two major crashes during the race, but nothing could hold a candle to the breath-taking collision between Justin Allgaier and David Gilliland. Both drivers were able to walk away from the smoldering pieces of sheet metal and carbon fiber that used to be their cars after the violent impact.
The next points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup race isn't for two weeks, with the annual All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway coming up next weekend.