There was a 90-minute rain-delay at Pocono Speedway before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with Juan Montoya on the pole and Jeff Gordon starting a dismal and deep 27th.
Once underway, Denny Hamlin led for a while but for all intents and purposes, Jimmie Johnson was the class of the field with a rocket-ship Hendrick car. Johnson did have to pass fan-favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for the top spot, and it did appear that Earnhardt would have yet another top-five run.
That idea vanished not long after, with the No. 88 Chevy exploding a transmission. Earnhardt’s crew changed the tranny and he returned to the track 18 laps down and finished 32nd on the day.
A late-race caution bunched up the field, with Johnson and Matt Kenseth starting on the front row. As the field barreled into Turn 1 at near 200 mph and the idea of rain just minutes away, Johnson lost control of the car, sliding right into the path of Kenseth and others.
That left Gordon on point with Kasey Kahne in second with a flat tire. NASCAR officials brought the field down pit lane as the skies started to lightly spit, followed by torrential rains.
It didn’t take officials very long to declare Gordon the winner, claiming his 86th career win.
Despite Earnhardt’s poor finish, Kenseth’s dismal results keeps Earnhardt in the lead, but only by five over Kenseth, six over Greg Biffle and eight away from Johnson.
Gordon’s first win of the year elevates him into the Chase, but by the narrowest of margins in a tie-busting situation with Ryan Newman. During the next five weeks, a lot of things can happen—including Carl Edwards having a shot at a Wild Card position—but only with at least one win and top-shelf results.
Will Jeff Gordon make this year's Chase?
Elliott Sadler wound up in victory lane for the fourth time this year, besting the likes of lap-leader Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish, Jr., Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
The Iowa racetrack was packed with enthusiastic race fans getting a chance to see a fairly action-packed race.
Rookie Darrell Wallace captured his very first pole in only his second NNS start and led several dozen of the opening laps. He netted an impressive seventh-place finish.
The $82,000-win for Sadler extended his points lead by 18 over Austin Dillon and 30 over Stenhouse, Jr.
Camping World Trucks
The pick-‘em-up set got to stretch their legs on the wide open Pocono Speedway with first-time winner Joey Coulter bringing home the big trophy.
The 22-year-old Childress driver got a good jump on the final restart over race lap-leader and pole-sitter Nelson Piquet, Jr. and never looked back en route to the checkers.
Wrapping up the top five finishers in the 100-lap race were the trucks of James Buescher, Piquet, Matt Crafton and Denny Hamlin.
While running second, veteran racer Todd Bodine tangled with Piquet, ending his day with a hard hit in the backstretch wall. The New York driver expressed his displeasure by tossing his helmet at Piquet while he passed the accident scene.
The latest results finds points leader Timothy Peters barely ahead of Ty Dillon and James Buescher.
Open Wheel News
The Indy Racing Series returned to the tricky left and rights of the Mid-Ohio racecourse on Sunday afternoon with Will Power starting on the pole.
Power led most of the race, before a late-race pit stop saw Scott Dixon beat the Penske driver out of the pits and go on to win the race.
Power wound up as runner-up, followed by Simon Pagenaud.
Don’t be surprised to see the Chevys of Regan Smith switch over to Dodge for next year, with the possibility of having Kurt Busch as teammate.
Serious negotiations are going on between Dodge, Penske and Furniture Row owners. Stay tuned. ( ESPN.com)
That’s it for this week. Next week, RWR will review the NASCAR action from Watkins Glen, along with more racing news from around the globe.