Dale Earnhardt Jr. piloted his No. 88 Chevrolet SS to his second win of 2014 Sunday after passing the No. 2 Team Penske Ford of Brad Keselowski with only five laps to go. The win, which marks Earnhardt’s first multi-win season since 2004, effectively guarantees him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup field.
Keselowski, who was attempting to use Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to clear debris off his grille when Earnhardt went charging past, dominated much of the race. After Earnhardt made his move, the No. 2 car tried desperately to regain first position, but it was to no avail.
After the race, Earnhardt said he was surprised to see Keselowski in behind Danica trying to get debris off his car with only five laps remaining. Keselowski noted the car was running very hot and may have blown the engine if he didn’t try to clear the debris.
Joining Earnhardt and Keselowski on the podium was Kurt Busch and his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Fourth place went to the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Denny Hamlin, while rookie Kyle Larson in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet finished fifth. Jeff Gordon also managed to grab eighth position, putting the championship lead back in his hands and knocking former leader Matt Kenseth down to second.
Much of the race was slowed by the seven cautions which were put out over the course of the day. The final wreck was the biggest, caused by Kasey Kahne as he attempted to make a move on Kyle Busch, who nudged him into the wall. Carl Edwards then came crashing into the back of Kahne, putting him back in the wall for a second time.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will pack up and head to Michigan International Speedway for the Quicken Loans 400, 15th race of the season, on Sunday, June 15.