Gordon finished sixth a week after he won the Brickyard 400. He led a race-high 63 laps and passed 24,000 career laps led in the No. 24 Chevrolet and 1,000 laps led at Pocono. He still holds a 17-point lead over Earnhardt in the standings. Earnhardt would have the No. 1 seed because he was one more win than Gordon.
Earnhardt, who swept a track for the first time since Talladega in 2002, had few cars left to hold off on the lead lap after several potential contenders got knocked out.
Hamlin triggered a 13-car wreck with 43 laps after he got sideways coming out of a turn. Brian Vickers tried to avoid Hamlin and slammed into Matt Kenseth to send cars all over the track. The pileup looked like a "Big One" straight out of Talladega or Daytona, with smoking, dented and destroyed cars littering the track. Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet rested atop Paul Menard's No. 27 Chevy.
"I can't drive it because my car is on top of the other car," Stewart said over the radio.
Stewart, Vickers, Menard and Kenseth all visited the NASCAR care center.
"Big wrecks are always frustrating when you're in it," Kenseth said.
Aric Almirola said he slammed on the brakes as hard as he could, but still got "creamed from behind and pushed into the wreck."
Hamlin was able to straighten himself out and stayed out.
Kyle Busch topped the lengthy list of stars with an early exit when the No. 18 needed a push to the garage with a variety of issues. Six-time champion Johnson finished outside the top 10 for the fourth straight race. He fell a lap down after his rear right tire smacked the wall, rebounded to run fifth, then a second blown tire forced him to the garage.
"It wasn't the best weekend but we still gave ourselves a chance at a win, if not a top five, today and came up a little short," Johnson said.
His teammate carried the Hendrick banner all the way to victory.
"After last year, I thought the only thing we're not doing is winning," Earnhardt said.
Now, the good things come in threes.