He may not have had the fastest car, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the winning car, passing leader Brad Keselowski with five laps remaining Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
The final moments were eventful as Keselowski, who led a race-high 95 laps, slowed due to an overheated engine caused by a wrapper on the grille of his car. Feeling his motor would blow if the temperatures continued to climb, Keselowski attempted to remove the debris from his nose by pulling up behind the lapped machine of Danica Patrick.
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Seizing the opportunity, Earnhardt went by Keselowski off of Turn 2, but then too saw his engine temps rise because of debris. With his team telling him, "Ignore it," Earnhardt went on to win for the second time in 2014. Both drivers made it to the finish.
"It's unfortunate for him," Earnhardt said in Victory Lane. "He had me beat. I couldn't get to him. But I've lost some in some strange ways so it feels good to win one like that."
The victory marks Earnhardt's second of 2014, and the first time he's posted multiple victories in a decade. Keselowski finished second followed by Kurt Busch in third. Rounding out the top five were pole-sitter Denny Hamlin and rookie Kyle Larson.
"I was trying to make a move to clean it off," Keselowski said. "I realized I made a mistake."
Jimmie Johnson's bid to win for a third consecutive week suffered a setback when the defending Sprint Cup champion made contact with Marcos Ambrose on Lap 73.
Leaving his pit stall Johnson drove his No. 48 car into the side of Ambrose, who was preparing to pull into his box. Johnson spun and his Chevrolet suffered heavy damage to the right front.
Multiple stops were required to fix the damage, dropping Johnson down the running order. Crew chief Chad Knaus accepted blame for the incident, as he was confused whether Ambrose was coming on or off pit road. Johnson would rally to finish sixth.
"I feel terrible for (Ambrose's) guys and hurting their race car and taking them out of a good day" Johnson said. "It hurt out race car too."
Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr. and Jamie McMurray completed the top 10.