Jeff Gordon got a little help from his teammate’s botched restart and enormous downpour which ended the Pennsylvania 400, at Pocono on lap 98 of the 160-lap race.
Gordon had been in a slump, it had been 31 races since his last victory. This was his 86th career win.
On a restart, on lap 91, his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, got a bit wide in turn one knocking Matt Kenseth into the outside wall. As the field scattered like a break in a billiard game Gordon, who had been sixth, squirted into the lead “Man, I’ve never seen the seas part quite like that before (laughing) like they did going down into (Turn) one. I got a great restart and was able to dive to the inside in front of Kasey (Kahne) and I saw the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) get sideways and it just took them all out.”
Later Johnson said a flat right rear tire caused the wreck. He said “I shouldn’t feel bad about that but not much you can do with a right-rear flat.”
Kenseth described the incident “ I got a little draft and actually pulled up to his (Johnson’s ) door and so I decided to race him through there and we went off into one and I could hear his pipes. I wasn’t sure he has lifted yet. He drove in really, really far and spun out underneath me and I got wrecked.”
It was like redemption for the four-time champion who appeared in jeopardy to fail to make the Chase, NASCAR’s playoffs. “You can’t ever give up. It doesn’t matter where you’re at. You’ve got to just try to go out there and win races. For all the things that have gone wrong for us this year, I still can’t believe what just happened. But, I think this is the one that makes up for all the ones that have gotten away.”
Kasey Kahne, another HMS teammate, finished second coming back from a pit lane error. “Jeff got a little bit better restart, got in front of me getting into turn one when the field wrecked in front of us, and he won the race,” he said.
Martin Truex Jr. finished third. They way he saw the restart “everybody was throwing rubber off their tires trying to get them cleaned up before we took the restart. So, all that stuff combined into those guys going off into (turn) one, all of them looked like they took off up the track. Fortunately, I was the third guy that didn't slide. The 24 (Jeff Gordon), 5 (Kasey Kahne), and me, we all went down in there and stuck.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. who retired early with a transmission failure continues to lead the points.
The bad weather affected the fans adversely, too. Officials of Pocono Raceway confirmed that one spectator died and nine others were injured in the storm which ended the race. Another was listed in critical condition at a local hospital.