Pocono 400

Track: Pocono Raceway
Date: 6/8/2014
Car No: 88
Sponsor: National Guard
Organization: Hendrick Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won for the second time in 2014 and for the 21st time in his career by coupling a fast race car with picture-perfect strategy to take the Pocono 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was Earnhardt's first victory in 29 starts at the 2.5-mile triangle track and his third consecutive top-five there.

Starting eighth and conserving enough fuel in the middle stages to gain an advantage on many of the competing teams, Earnhardt and crew chief Steve Letarte aggressively pursued a game of track position and pit strategy that had the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet near the front when it counted.

Letarte strategically elected not to pit during the fifth caution when many of the others did, sticking to a strategy that would put the 88 team within a one-stop window. Earnhardt took over the second spot on a restart with 38 laps to go, made a green-flag pit stop with 29 to go, and had cycled right back into second by the time the sixth caution flew with 19 to go.

It set up a frenzied restart in which the field went eight-wide down the front stretch, yet when it all fanned out, there was Earnhardt's Chevrolet versus Keselowski's Ford to duke it out for the win. Complicating matters for Keselowski, the No. 2 car picked up a piece of trash on its front grille, which caused the engine to run hot. He drove up to the No. 10 of Danica Patrick in attempt to vacuum the wrapper off the grille but in doing so lost momentum. Earnhardt took the lead away from Keselowski with four laps to go and held him off in the tense final circuits to score the popular victory in Pennsylvania.