After a bunch of bad luck to start the season off, Jeff Gordon found some good luck to take the checker flag at Pocono today. A much needed win for Gordon came at the right time. Gordon said he was “in the right place at the right time” when the final wreck ended the race. Gordon saw his teammate Jimmie Johnson slide up the track going into turn one and Gordon took the opportunity to take the lead. Johnson had dominated the race the whole day but a late race slip cost Johnson the victory.
Gordon was multiple positions out of Chase contention but with this win, Gordon moves up into the second wild card position and now has a great shot at making the Chase. Rain was another big story of the day. We had an hour and forty-five minute rain delay to start the race and rain is why the race was called 61 laps before the scheduled finish. Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya led the first eight laps before being passed by Denny Hamlin for the lead. Hamlin soon gave up the lead to Dale Earnhardt Jr who had the strongest car of the day.
The first caution of the day came out on lap 19 for Kyle Busch who had a part break and he then slid up and hit the wall. Busch’s bad luck continues and this was probably the worst thing to happen to Busch so far. Busch now is no longer in a wild card spot and now all Kyle can do is win to get into the Chase. Busch eventually came back on the track multiple laps down and ended up finishing 33rd. On lap 24, Brad Keselowski took the lead from Jamie McMurray. On lap 30, Brad Keselowski pitted and Dale Earnhardt Jr inherited the lead. Johnson took the lead for the first time of the day on lap 39 when he passed his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jimmie Johnson was the leader at lap 40, which was the halfway to halfway mark. On lap 48, the first round of green flag pit stops began. Dale Earnhardt Jr was having a great run until lap 49 when his transmission broke and Earnhardt Jr went behind the wall. Earnhardt Jr eventually came back out many laps down and he ended up finishing in the 32nd position. When Earnhardt Jr went behind the wall he ended his streak of completing every lap so far this season. With rain approaching, we reached the halfway mark of the race which meant the race was official if the rain was to come and Johnson lead followed by Kenseth, Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle.
On lap 85, we had our second caution of the day for Kurt Busch. Busch had crashed in the tunnel turn after getting loose and spinning. The coming restart was anticipated to be wild with the rain minutes away from the track. Drivers were going to make desperate moves to gain a few positions before the rain arrives. Johnson was the leader on the restart and when he went into turn one; he got loose and slid up into Matt Kenseth and they both hit the wall along with Greg Biffle. Kenseth then slid down the track and into Denny Hamlin, causing both cars to suffer major damage.
Kenseth commented on the radio about the incident and said “The 48 just took me out. We were racing side by side and he just took me out.” Jeff Gordon made it through the wreck and took the lead. Under this caution, the rain and lightning arrived at the raceway and the red flag came out on lap 99. Minutes later the NASCAR officials called the race and Jeff Gordon had been named the race winner. This was a huge and much needed win for Gordon and Gordon knew that. He said his bad luck had run out and now the good luck set in at the right time. Gordon now is in the second wild card position and is in the perfect spot to make the chase. Gordon said in victory lane to not “count him out (of the Chase).”
After Kyle Busch experienced more troubles, he now sits in the 15th place in the points and is third in line for the second wild card. This is something Kyle did not expect and now all Kyle can do is win. He has some great tracks coming up and Kyle should be able to rebound from this. The top four in points all had some trouble today but Earnhardt Jr still leads the standings.
A great day for Jeff Gordon has given him some hope at making the Chase and attempting to win his fourth championship. Other drivers had some bad runs and are looking forward to racing next week at the Glen in Watkins Glen, New York.
Results via Nascar.com
|1||27||24||Jeff Gordon||Chevrolet||Drive to End Hunger||47/1||98||Running|
|2||4||5||Kasey Kahne||Chevrolet||Farmers Insurance||43/1||98||Running|
|3||15||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Auto Parts||41/0||98||Running|
|4||31||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||41/1||98||Running|
|5||28||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot “Back to School”||39/0||98||Running|
|6||9||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Haas Automation / Quicken Loans||38/0||98||Running|
|8||19||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||36/0||98||Running|
|9||11||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||35/0||98||Running|
|11||3||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Menards / Serta||33/0||98||Running|
|12||18||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron’s Dream Machine||32/0||98||Running|
|13||14||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||31/0||98||Running|
|17||16||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Allstate||27/1||98||Running|
|18||13||43||Aric Almirola||Ford||Automotive Lift Institute||25/0||98||Running|
|19||25||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||0||98||Running|
|22||23||31||Jeff Burton||Chevrolet||Enersys / Odyssey Battery||22/0||98||Running|
|25||37||93||Travis Kvapil||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||19/0||97||Running|
|26||22||83||Landon Cassill||Toyota||Burger King / Dr Pepper||18/0||97||Running|
|27||39||47||Bobby Labonte||Toyota||Scott Products||17/0||96||Running|
|28||32||34||David Ragan||Ford||Taco Bell||16/0||96||Running|
|29||2||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||FedEx Ground||16/1||90||Accident|
|30||6||51||Kurt Busch||Chevrolet||Phoenix Construction Services||15/1||84||Accident|
|32||8||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||Diet Mountain Dew / AMP Energy / National Guard||13/1||80||Running|
|34||36||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||10/0||43||Transmission|
|36||38||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves||0||37||Brakes|
|37||34||26||Josh Wise *||Ford||MDS Transport||7/0||34||Brakes|
|38||42||36||Tony Raines||Chevrolet||@TMone / CRM Hiring Veterans||6/0||31||Fuel Pump|
|39||30||119||Mike Bliss||Toyota||Plinker Tactical||0||29||Overheating|
|40||35||37||J.J. Yeley||Chevrolet||Max Q Motorsports||4/0||27||Brakes|
|41||43||98||Mike Skinner||Ford||TRAQM.com||0||26||Rear Gear|
|42||40||191||Reed Sorenson||Ford||Plinker Tactical||0||10||Brakes|
|43||33||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||1/0||9||Brakes|