Hendrick Motorsports Night at the Russ Friedman 400 in Richmond

Bryan CorraoContributor IMay 4, 2009

Saturday night featured a race at Richmond—the Crown Royal Presents: The Russ Friedman 400. 

All four Hendrick Motorsports teammates had up and down nights.


Jeff Gordon

Gordon started his No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet on the outside pole for the Russ Friedman 400 and led 53 laps after the green flag dropped around lap 15. Denny Hamlin took the lead from him on lap 68. Gordon slipped back to fifth before the first round of pit stops.

He came out of the pits in the seventh position. Jeff was able to make it back up to fourth, but green flag pit stops slowed him. He stayed out and ledd a few more laps, then lost three positions after pitting. 

Gordon then made it back up to fifth, but the yellow flag flew again. After staying out of the pits on the last round, he led for about 30 more laps until being passed by eventual race winner and birthday boy, Kyle Busch. 

Jeff Gordon finished the Russ Friedman 400 in the eighth position, vaulting him back to the top of the points with a 10 point lead over Kurt Busch. 


Mark Martin

His race was a bit better. 

After starting just outside the top 10, Mark fought his way up into the top five before the first round of pit stops. He did not lose any spots in the pits but also did not pick up any spots. Mark ran in the top five until the next round of pit stops. 

Martin had no missed cues despite being turned around on a restart, taking virtually no damage.  Mark fought his way back in to the top 10 after restarting 15th. By end of the race, Mark Martin finished a well earned top five.

That vaults Mark up two spots in the standings to 15th. 


Dale Earnhardt Jr.

He struggled for most of the night, only reaching the top 10 at one point during the race.

Dale Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. got off on adjustments and went the wrong way, to the back of the field.

His night was eventful, though. At one point, he spun Burton into the wall. It was very reminiscent of Kyle Busch turning Dale Jr. around in this race last spring.

Dale Jr. finished the race in 27th postion, dropping him two spots in the points to 17th.


Jimmie Johnson

For those of you who haven't already read my previous post, Jimmie started with promise. He began just outside the top 10, but fought his way in and up to the sixth position by the time pit stops came around.

Johnson came out a few positions back in ninth, but he restarted on the tail end of the longest line because of a pit road speeding violation. He then reported a problem later diagnosed as a rear brake fluid issue.

He tried to hold onto the car until the next caution came out.

Unfortunately for Johnson, he was the next caution, spinning his car coming out of turn two.

After restarting, another caution waved in more pit stops. Jimmie lost two more laps for having to serve a pass through penalty for another speeding violation. Johnson got up to speed, being four laps down. 

After being involved in a mid race wreck with three other cars, Jimmie went to the garage for repairs. The three-time champion came out and finished the race in the 36th spot and over 30 laps down.

This finish dropped Johnson three spots in the points to sixth place, 151 points behind the current points leader, Jeff Gordon.

I would look for all four of the Hendrick cars to have a great weekend in Darlington next week.