Wandering through a few race shops on Tuesday, I noticed constant reminders of the weekend’s events at Pocono.
As the laps rolled on, so did the story lines. Each one was as unique and different as the race track they ran on.
For some, the story line was luck, and for others, it was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Jimmie Johnson secured an unheard-of four lucky dog passes. Paul Menard came in second with three lucky dog passes for the day.
After losing a lap to unknown engine problems, Johnson could barely keep his car up to minimum speed. Working every pit stop and the length of the track to its full potential, Chad Knaus and crew fixed the problem and brought Johnson back to contention.
On the other hand, teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed to be doing well until his car became loose. Driving like he was on a dirt track, Jr. was seen sliding through the turns of the tricky triangle. At one point, halfway through the Long Pond straight away, Junior’s car actually slid sideways and slapped the wall.
After being down three laps, Johnson would finish the race on the lead lap and 15 positions ahead of Earnhardt Jr.
Race winner Denny Hamlin was racing with a heavy heart, evidenced by the tears he shed in victory lane.
His right foot must have been experiencing some heaviness during the race.
After running over part of a caution light, Hamlin’s car and tires avoided any damage from the freakish object on the track.
His aggressive driving and heavy foot would bring a caution for MWR teammates Marcos Ambrose and David Reutimann.
Lap 174 saw Hamlin’s heavy-footed car enter turn three and drive right into the back of Reutimann’s Toyota Camry. The ensuing accident caused Reutimann’s car to continue turning left into teammate Marco Ambrose.
Hamlin’s driving under duress caused two race cars to be crashed, and sent Reutimann’s chance for making the chase to the executioner.
Robby Gordon and David Stremme seemed to be having the most fun at Pocono.
Gordon spun out after being hit, for a second time he said, by David Stremme. On the radio, Gordon assured his crew that he would wreck Stremme, even if it meant NASCAR parking him.
On lap 149, Gordon made good, or tried to make good on that threat. Hunting down Stremme, Gordon bumped him once, twice, and then a third time before finally driving up under him and forcing Stremme to move over.
In the very next corner, Stremme would become the victor as he nudged Gordon and sent him spinning across the track into the infield grass.
NASCAR issued five lap penalties to both drivers for their actions.
Kyle Busch saw his chase chances all but disappear at Pocono.
After fighting an ill-handling race car and slamming into the wall late in the race, Busch still managed to move up one spot in the standings to 13th. Cracking the top 12 might be tough now. Busch will have only five more races to make up over 100 points.