It's race day at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA which means that 43 drivers are preparing to do battle with the three turned "tricky triangle."
Tony Stewart will start on the pole later today after turning in a lap of 171.393 mph during qualifying on Friday. For Stewart it was his second pole of the 2010 season, but he's still looking for his first win.
After coming off a fifth place finish last weekend in Indianapolis, Stewart is sitting pretty to make the Chase, but would love to snatch up a few wins for bonus points.
The driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet won the June race at Pocono last season and finished third at Pocono earlier this year.
Stewart is ready to smoke the field today.
Another driver that has the potential to smoke the field is defending winner Denny Hamlin.
Around the NASCAR garage area Hamlin is known as the Pocono king, with four wins at the track. He starts third in the field today as he looks to make it three wins in a row at the triangle.
Last weekend drivers weren't concerned about their point positions. Everyone wanted to win the Brickyard 400.
This weekend they'll still want to win, but Pocono marks just five races before the Chase starts in New Hampshire and many drivers are still trying to get into the top 12 in points.
Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray sits 16th in points with two wins this season, over 100 points out of 12th.
Ryan Newman, who won at Phoenix earlier this year, sits 15th in points and trying to break through the drivers in front of him.
Then you have Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Mark Martin who sit 14th and 13th in points, without wins, but determined to be in the 2010 Chase field.
Pocono hasn't been the best track to these drivers but each has had a memorable day at the track in the past. In order to save their Chase chances, these drivers will need another memorable day.
Lastly, weather will be a problem during the race today. The track is currently experiencing an overcast sky and rain is in the forecast for much of the day. The temperature is currently at a brisk 64 degrees.
The pre-race activities for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 starts at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN2. The green flag then falls shortly after 1:00 p.m. on ESPN.
6:27 Greg Biffle takes the checkered flag for the first time in 2010 and for the first time since 2008. It's also Ford's first win of the 2010 season. Stewart, Edwards, Harvick, Hamlin, Gordon, Martin, Burton, Truex Jr., and Johnson are the top 10.
6:24 Biffle still leads with four laps to go. Stewart, Edwards, Harvick, Hamlin, Gordon, Martin, Burton, Truex Jr., and Johnson are the top 10.
6:17 Biffle has over a three-second lead with 10 laps to go. Hornish, Stewart, Edwards, Harvick, Martin, Hamlin, Truex Jr., Gordon, and Johnson.
6:13 Stewart is up to the third position, Hamlin to eighth, Gordon to the 10th spot. Biffle extending his lead.
6:10 Biffle leads with 19 laps to go. Hamlin, Johnson and Gordon are three-wide through the field.
6:08 And they are racing again! Green flag flies with 21 laps to go as Biffle and Hornish are side-by-side for the lead. Biffle takes it off turn two as the field goes two-by-two lap after lap.
5:45 Cars are being brought down pit road because of the rain.
5:39 Hornish has the lead under the caution for rain, he did not pit. Biffle lines up alongside him in second place. Followed by Edwards, Martin, Logano, Ragan, Newman, Truex Jr., Menard, Harvick, Stewart, Montoya, Gordon, Johnson, Hamlin, Kenseth, McMurray, Burton, Keselowski, Reutimann, Smith, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne, Allmendinger, Speed, Bowyer, Labonte, Kvapil, Gilliland, Conway, Sorenson, Kurt Busch, Sadler, Jones, Mears, Bodine, Yeley, Ambrose, Nemecheck, Cassill, Blaney and McDowell.
5:33 Many of the top 10 cars took two tires. Stewart and Gordon are on four and will have to make their way back through the field.
5:30 Leaders are now coming back down pit road, looks like the rain will stay away until the finish. Gordon gets four tires as does Montoya and Stewart. Biffle, Edwards, Martin, Ragan, Logano, Truex Jr., Newman, Stewart, Menard and Gordon are the first 10 cars off pit road.
5:18 The cars are fired and will roll shortly. NASCAR will keep them on the track while they continue their drying efforts. Pit road will be closed.
5:09 Cars will be brought down pit road so that the jet dryers can go to work on the track. There is no rain in turn three or some other areas.
5:00 Looks like Jeff Gordon could get his first win of the year. The rain continues to come down and the cleanup from the wreck is still going on.
4:55 Johnson got into the back of Kurt Busch who hit the outside and inside walls. Sadler went head-first into the inside wall. Both are out of their cars and OK. It is still raining and the drivers are still under a red flag.
4:49 Kurt Busch and Sadler crash hard on the backstretch. The engine has been torn from Sadler's car and has resulted in a red flag.
4:46 The restart occurs with 39 laps to go. Gordon leads Montoya into turn one as Stewart follows into turn. Then it's Biffle and Harvick. Montoya is right on Gordon's back bump as they head into turn one again.
4:38 Earnhardt Jr. wrecks in turn one to bring the caution out, no one is in their fuel window yet meaning most leaders will stay out. There are about 40 laps to go.
4:37 Rain has arrived at the track as Gordon leads.
4:34 Gordon again trying to take the lead on Montoya in turn one but can't. Finally gets it as they go into turn three. Earnhardt Jr. has fallen all the way back to 13th on his two tires. Stewart goes to third, Edwards, Harvick, Hamlin, Biffle, Martin and Bowyer follow.
4:32 Gordon tries to take the lead into turn one but Montoya fights back on the outside. Hamlin gets loose and loses a bunch of positions. Stewart goes to third, Edwards to forth, then it's Earnhardt Jr. and Harvick battling.
4:30 The restart occurs with 49 laps to go. Montoya takes off into turn one, Gordon goes into second position, Hamlin gets around Earnhardt Jr. for third position. Stewart next to take the position. Two tires have proven again not to be the way to go.
4:26 Montoya stayed on the racetrack and will be the new leader.
4:23 Earnhardt Jr. takes two tires and now has the lead. Stewart, Harvick, Gordon, Hamlin, Edwards, Martin, Burton, Biffle and Johnson are the top 10.
4:21 Caution is out again for debris. Leaders are coming back down pit road for tires, fuel and any adjustments they may need.
4:19 Hamlin leads but Gordon is getting closer in his mirror. There are 55 laps to go and another round of pit stops are approaching.
4:12 Hamlin still leads Gordon by over one second as Harvick now has the third position. There are 135 of 200 laps complete, teams still preparing for rain.
4:10 Kurt Busch hits the wall coming out of turn one. Busch runs 15th while Earnhardt Jr. runs 18th behind him. Harvick is now closing on Johnson for the third position, also says that his water temperatures are climbing.
4:08 There are 69 laps to go at the line, but many teams believe that rain could arrive at any time. Harvick takes away the fourth position from Biffle. Stewart rides seventh followed by Martin, Montoya, and Burton.
4:05 Johnson grabs second from Gordon, but gets loose in turn three. He and Gordon drag race down the frontstretch before Johnson prevails in turn one. Gordon gets back around in turn two as Hamlin pulls away.
4:04 Hamlin pushes Gordon to the lead before taking the lead himself in turn three. Johnson takes third from Biffle. Gordon tries for the lead in turn one, but can't pull it off.
4:02 The restarts occurs on lap 127 as Biffle leads Gordon and Hamlin down into turn one. They go three wide into turn one for the lead, Biffle holds the lead over Gordon as Hamlin continues to fight.
3:55 Leaders hit pit road. Johnson gets an air pressure adjustment with four tires and fuel. Gordon also gets the same adjustment and four tires and fuel. Biffle, Gordon, Hamlin, Johnson, Stewart, Montoya, Burton, Martin, Harvick and Kurt Busch are the first 10 off pit road.
3:53 Caution comes out after Gordon takes the lead. Earnhardt Jr. will get the lucky dog and will be back on the lead lap. There are 122 laps complete.
3:51 Johnson laps Earnhardt Jr. to put just 18 cars on the lead lap. Shortly after passing Earnhardt Jr., Gordon closes in on Johnson takes the lead going into turn two.
3:47 Johnson has lapped Kenseth to leave just 19 cars on the lead lap. There has not been a caution since the one issued by NASCAR on lap 15. There are now 116 laps complete as rain creeps back onto the radar.
3:41 Pit stops cycle through and no surprise the leaderboard is back to what is was before they came down pit road. Johnson leads Gordon and Hamlin after 109 laps.
3:40 Johnson pits from the lead and once again does not get any adjustments on his Lowe's Chevrolet. Martin is down with getting service as is Harvick. Hamlin and Gordon are the next ones to pit.
3:38 Pit stops have begun on lap 106. Earnhardt Jr., Biffle, Bowyer and others are down for their stops. McMurray gets a pass through penalty for speeding on pit road. Busch down for service. Johnson still leading.
3:34 Johnson trying to lap Keselowski who is running in the 21st position. Gordon and Hamlin still run second and third.
3:32 Over a five second lead for Johnson as 100 laps are complete at Pocono.
3:26 Edwards takes over the 10th spot from Kyle Busch. Hamlin continues to be the fastest car on the track.
3:23 Hamlin is gaining on the leaders, running third behind Johnson and Gordon. After 91 laps there hasn't been much change on the leaderboard. Johnson, Gordon, Hamlin, Burton, Montoya, Martin, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Harvick, Kyle Busch are the top 10. Then comes Edwards, Biffle, Kahne, Newman, Bowyer, Reutimann, Allmendinger, Truex Jr., Kenseth and Earnhardt Jr. as the top 20.
3:14 Johnson goes back to the lead as this round of pit stops cycle through. Gordon, Hamlin, Burton and Montoya round out the top five. There are 81 of 200 laps complete.
3:11 Johnson's pit stop is complete as Gordon hits pit road. Hamlin also in for his stop as Edwards takes the lead. Kyle Busch on pit road followed by Kahne.
3:09 Logano begins this round of green flag pit stops. Biffle comes next for four tires and fuel. Kenseth is also in with Earnhardt Jr. and McMurray. There are 78 laps on the board as Stewart comes in for his stop.
3:04 There are only 26 cars on the lead lap. Notables through the field: Earnhardt Jr. is 18th, McMurray is 21st, Logano is 25th. Those that are a lap down are Speed, Hornish, Sorenson, Kvapil, Labonte, Gilliland. Conway and Sadler are two laps down. Many others are more then 10 laps down or out of the event.
3:01 Johnson dominating the event, now leads by 3.3 seconds over Gordon, Hamlin, Burton, and Montoya. The No. 7 is being posted by NASCAR for being too slow.
2:56 Johnson continues to walk away from the field. Ambrose appears to have suffered a blown engine, which is why he went behind the wall. Meanwhile, Hamlin continues to climb as he now sits third.
2:47 Pit stops have cycled through, Johnson leads Gordon, Burton, Hamlin, Montoya, Martin, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Biffle, Kyle Busch, Harvick, Kahne, Edwards, Newman, Allmendinger, Bowyer, Reutimann, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth and McMurray as the top 20 after 55 laps.
2:43 Johnson now on pit road for four tires and fuel. Edwards also comes down to the attention of his crew as the round of pit stops are now complete. Johnson goes back to the lead.
2:42 Ambrose now goes behind the wall. Gordon on pit road for an adjustment and four tires and fuel. Montoya also getting service from his No. 42 team. Hamlin says that he is too tight and gets four tires and fuel.
2:41 Kenseth hits pit road for four tires and an adjustment. Ambrose on pit road for four tires, as it Hornish Jr. on lap 48. Johnson still leads as Martin, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Newman, Reutimann and many others now come down pit road.
2:36 Stewart running in the seventh position after 42 laps. Kyle Busch runs in 10th position, Earnhardt Jr. is 17th, and McMurray is 20th. Johnson still leads a very strung out field around Pocono.
2:30 Single-file racing around Pocono, not much change in positions. Johnson has over a two-second lead on teammate Gordon. Hamlin gaining on Montoya for the fourth positions as 35 laps are now complete.
2:22 Johnson has over a one-second lead after 26 laps. Kenseth joins teammate Biffle by sliding through the field on his two tires. Brickyard 400 winner McMurray runs 21st on the track.
2:19 Biffle continues to lose positions. Johnson leads Gordon, Burton, Montoya and Hamlin. Kyle Busch has climbed to the eighth position, Martin runs ninth as he tries to break into the top 12 in points. Teammate Earnhardt Jr. is battling back in the 17th position with Logano.
2:17 Johnson looking for the lead on Biffle as Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Martin have a three-way battle going for the eighth position. Johnson finally gets the lead on lap 22 as Stewart and Hamlin try to make up the positions they lost on pit road.
2:15 The green flag is back out with Gordon still the leader, but Biffle takes it away in turn one. Johnson gets around Gordon for second place, Kenseth and Burton close in on Gordon for third.
2:11 Drivers hit pit road. Johnson gets an adjustment to tighten the car up. Gordon also gets and adjustment with four tires and fuel. Gordon, Biffle, Johnson, Kenseth, Montoya are the first five off pit road.
2:07 The caution comes out as drivers will have their first opportunity to come down pit road to check their tire wear. Gordon leads Johnson, Burton, Stewart, Montoya, Hamlin, Martin, Newman, Kurt Busch, Kahne, Allmendinger, Harvick, McMurray, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr. as the top 15.
2:03 Gordon still leads but Johnson is staying right with him. Competition caution will be in five laps. Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch continue to climb through the field as they are now 14th and 15th. Racing is single file around the triangle.
1:58 Back in the field, Earnhardt Jr. is up to 16th followed by Kyle Busch in 17th. Kahne and Harvick hae also scraped the wall, as Stewart now loses the second position to Johnson.
1:56 Stewart gives way to gordon into turn two. Johnson goes to third followed by Motoya, Burton, Hamlin, Martin, Newman, Kurt Busch, and McMurray. Three laps are complete.
1:56 Stewart leads lap No. 1 over Gordon. Reports that Biffle may have scrapped the wall.
1:55 The green flag waves as Stewart and Montoya lead them into turn one. Stewart gets the jump and clears the 42 car. Gordon goes to second off turn one as Hamlin and Johnson battle for fourth place.
1:43 The command to start engines have been given. Drivers will begin rolling off pit road shortly for the pace laps before the green flag.
1:35 Drivers are being called back to their cars.
1:22 NASCAR officials report that it's raining in every area of the track except for turn one. Teams have begun to cover the cars on pit road and NASCAR is letting the drivers get out of their cars.
1:15 NASCAR issues a competition caution at lap 15 because of the rain.
1:08 Rain has started to fall and will push back the command to start engines.
1:06 The invocation and National Anthem have been completed. Drivers are climbing aboard their machines for the command to start engines.
12:55 Two drivers will drop to the rear of the field when the green flag falls, the No. 7 of P.J. Jones and the No. 82 of Scott Speed because they are in backup cars. Both drivers wrecked in practice.
12:00 Pre-race activities have started on ESPN2. Today's race is 200 laps, 500 miles around the tricky triangle.
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