Sports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins to complete Sprint Cup season sweep at Pocono

SportsAuto RacingStock Car RacingOpen-Wheel RacingDrag RacingKevin HarvickDale Earnhardt, Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. posts his second win at Pocono Raceway this year in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is having his best season since 2004 and holds top seeding in the Chase for the Sprint Cup

Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead off the final restart with three laps left Sunday and won the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway to complete a season sweep at the Long Pond, Pa., track.

Earnhardt held off the hard-charging Kevin Harvick to become the first driver to sweep both annual races at the track since Denny Hamlin in 2006.

He had tweeted "Lookin for a broom" when he landed in Pocono. And he had one in hand after Sunday's race, hoisting the broom high over his head to symbolize his Pocono sweep.

It was the third win in a season that has served as a career renaissance for the popular driver. Earnhardt now holds the No. 1 seeding in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

"This group all really enjoys each other," Earnhardt said of his team. "We want to see everybody happy."

Earnhardt also became the fifth straight Hendrick Motorsports driver to win at Pocono. The three wins, which also include the season-opening Daytona 500, tie him for the most in Sprint Cup this season and are the most for Earnhardt since he won six times in 2004.

"I can't believe we swept Pocono," Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt's sweep followed wins by Hendrick drivers Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson last year and Jeff Gordon in the August 2012 race.

Owner Rick Hendrick was not at the race, though he did talk to his winning driver on the phone on pit road.

"I told him thanks for believing in me and making my life better," Earnhardt said.

Harvick finished second, followed by Joey Logano, Clint Boywer and Greg Biffle.

Dixon wins IndyCar race

Scott Dixon went from last in qualifying to capture his fifth win at Mid-Ohio in the last eight years, coasting in on low fuel to end Target Chip Ganassi Racing's victory drought in 2014.

The 34-year-old New Zealander, who started last in the 22-car field Sunday at Lexington, Ohio,, also won on the twisty road course between Cleveland and Columbus in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012.

"To come from last to even a top-10 here was going to be extremely difficult to do," Dixon said. "But we laid down some quick laps, passed some people and then hung on."

Target Chip Ganassi has won the last six races at the track, including Dixon's last four. It finally broke through this season in a familiar place.

Pole-sitter Sebastien Bourdais was a distant second, with James Hinchcliffe third, rookie Carlos Munoz fourth and favorite son Graham Rahal fifth.

Force wins NHRA event

John Force raced to his third funny-car victory of the season and record 141st overall in the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Kent, Wash.

The 65-year-old Force beat former teammate Gary Densham in the final with a run of 4.173 seconds at 302.48 mph in a Ford Mustang. Force has raced in four consecutive finals, winning twice.

Doug Kalitta won in top fuel, and Jason Line topped the pro-stock division.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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SportsAuto RacingStock Car RacingOpen-Wheel RacingDrag RacingKevin HarvickDale Earnhardt, Jr.
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