Jeff Gordon may have been the victim of bad luck throughout the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season heading into Pocono Raceway for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at the track. But that luck turned around in the form of a race win, Gordon’s first of the season.
“The way our year has gone, we’ll definitely take it,” Gordon said.
The race was posponed for the fourth time in five years. The Pennsylvania 400 got underway nearly an hour-and-a-half late, and rains came again to abbreviate its distance at 245 miles of the scheduled 400-mile distance when NASCAR called the event official at the completion of 98 laps.
Hendrick Motorsports grabbled a one-two finish, with Kasey Kahne making caution laps on a flat tire near the end, determined to stay out knowing more rain was coming, to finish second.
HMS dominated the race, but not with Gordon and Kahne. Instead, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson looked to be the class of the field.
After starting the race from the eighth spot, Earnhardt made his way to the front and was in the lead by lap 15. Johnson moved into the second spot on lap 35.
While leading, Earnhardt fell off the pace and headed to the garage for a broken transmission on lap 50. Johnson inherited the lead.
Johnson’s No. 48 car was up front most of the remainder of the 98 laps that were completed, with Matt Kenseth in second. The two restarted side-by-side on the front row after a caution on lap 86, but they didn’t make it far past the start-finish line before Johnson got loose and Kenseth hit the wall. The yellow flag came back out and the remainder of the race ran under yellow until rain returned to end the event for good.
“I’d never seen the sea part like that,” Gordon said.
The incident ended Kenseth’s day, but Johnson was able to continue. He was moved back to 14th in the running order for the restart that never came. Right before that final caution came out, Gordon drove through that parting sea and into the lead and Kahne moved into second to claim the top-two spots in the finishing order.
“We knew that restart was going to be key,” Gordon’s crew chief Alan Gustafson said.
Mark Martin finished third, Brad Keselowski was fourth and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-five.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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