After all of the bad luck Jeff Gordon, Driver of the AARP Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet has had to endure this season, he finally got some good luck for a change in the Pennsylvania 400 at the Tricky Triangle. In a race that started after a rain delay, ended because of rain, and during the large storm that caused the race to be ended, several people were struck by lightning in the parking lot, and one person killed.
During the lap 91 restart, leader Jimmie Johnson and a hard charging Matt Kenseth got together as everyone was on the brakes going into turn one. The #48 made a rare mistake and seemed to lose control of his car and chased it up the track collecting the #17 on the way. Jeff Gordon, with Hendricks teammate Kasey Kahne in tow, dove low on the track , accelerating through the melee, and into the lead.
As the caution came out, the sky opened up and the rain started. Nascar waited until lap 98 to park the cars and eventually calling the race. The 160 lap race was beyond the mid-point, and was made official with Gordon getting his first win of the season. The win, Gordon’s sixth at Pocono and the 86th of his career, came at a crucial point in the season. It qualifies him for the Chase and moves him into the second wild card position.
If the season were to end today, he would get the twelfth and final position by virtue of having more top 5′s and 10′s during the season than both Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch who each have a win. He still trails Carl Edwards by one position in points, but retains the advantage because of the win at Pocono, and Carl still being win-less.
With only five races before the Chase gets underway at the Geico 400 in Chicago, and 56 points between 10th and 11th place, it is unlikely anyone will drop out of the top ten, leaving only the wild card as ticket to the playoffs.
I have been telling everyone who would listen, that even with all of the bad luck Jeff Gordon has had all season, and the bad luck Kasey Kahne had early, you should never count these guys out. Like Yogi Berra said once, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I knew Gordon was in trouble, but with his talent, I also knew if he could just get a little luck, he would be back in this thing. With the Road Course at Watkins Glen coming up next weekend, I wouldn’t take a bet against the #24 team wining another race soon.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, despite an early exit because of transmission problems and a 32nd place finish, retains his points lead by 5 points over second place Matt Kenseth. The top of the points list is getting tight however, less than 10 points separate the top four cars. The top four have a 42 point lead over fifth place Martin Truex Jr. Truex finished third at Pocono.
I’ve read some criticizm on the Internet that Nascar waited too long to stop the race after the rain storm stopped the action on the track, and maybe had they called it earlier, the people hit by lightning might have gotten to safety before the storm got fully underway. Although my sympathies go out to the families affected by the accident, sometimes things just happen, and no one is really to blame.
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