NASCAR: Kasey Kahne Stays Hot in PoconoJune 8, 2008
The Sprint Cup Series headed to Pennsylvania for the Pocono 500.
Kasey Kahne continued his hot streak by starting from the pole position with Jimmie Johnson along side in second.
Kahne may have been the fastest in qualifying, but when the race started Johnson took the lead right away. Kahne eventually ran Johnson down and passed him for the lead on lap 17.
Kahne would continue to lead as the first caution flag of the race flew for debris on lap 27. All the leaders would come down pit road for the first time taking tires and fuel. Kahne's crew had a very fast pit stop getting him off pit road first.
Kahne would not restart the race as the leader, though, due to Scott Riggs staying out under the caution. Riggs had made an unscheduled pit stop under green before the caution came out and managed to stay on the lead lap.
Riggs would lead the field to the restart but his lead would be short lived. Kahne took the top spot back on lap 35 and began to pull away from the rest of the competition.
Shortly after Kahne took the lead away from Riggs, the second caution flag came out on lap 38 for a spin by Kurt Busch coming off turn one.
The leaders would once again pit, with Johnson coming out as the leader by only taking two tires and fuel. Martin Truex Jr. stayed out under the caution and led the field to the green on the restart.
Truex would lead a few laps before Johnson passed him on lap 44 to regain the lead. Johnson continued to lead as the third caution flag came out for the points leader Kyle Busch on lap 47.
Busch was trying to get back into line coming down the front stretch when he moved right in front of Jamie McMurray who turned him square into the wall. Busch did not know that McMurray was there and took the blame for the incident in his interview after the accident.
Unfortunately for Busch, he would finish in the 43rd position. It was not the way that Busch wanted to end his weekend after competing in three NASCAR races in three days. Busch finished in 2nd in the Truck Series race and 20th in the Nationwide Series race.
The race was restarted and quickly halted on lap 57 for a spin by Sam Hornish and Patrick Carpentier down in turn one. The leaders would all pit with Johnson coming out in first once again.
Bad luck struck Kahne as he was missing lug nuts and had to come down pit road for a second stop which put him in the back of the field for the restart.
Brian Vickers stayed out under the caution and took the restart as the leader with Johnson in second spot. Johnson would prove that fresh tires were key by passing Vickers for the lead on lap 64.
Johnson continued to lead as the fifth caution of the race came out for a crash involving Hornish, Carpentier, David Gilliland, and Terry Labonte in turn one. The top 11 drivers would stay out under the caution, while the rest of the field took advantage of the caution by coming down pit road for tires, fuel, and adjustments.
Johnson would continue to lead the field until a caution came out on lap 81 for a crash involving Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya on the front stretch.
Montoya's car would catch on fire but he would get out safely. The leaders would pit again with Johnson coming off pit road first again.
Elliott Sadler led on the restart, as the top six drivers stayed out under the caution. Sadler would lead until lap 90 when Denny Hamlin took the lead for the first time in the race.
Hamlin continued to lead when Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Truex, and Sadler made green flag stops on lap 104. This strategy paid off due to a caution coming out on lap 105 for a spin by Michael Waltrip in turn one. This would allow the cars that had stopped under green to stay out under the caution and be back at the head of the field on the restart.
Sadler would lead the field on the restart with Stewart, Labonte, and Truex right behind. Stewart would take the lead from Sadler on lap 109 in commanding fashion. Stewart was the leader when the eighth caution flag of the race came out for a spin by Dario Franchitti on lap 122.
The leaders would pit again with Kahne coming out in the top spot. Johnson and Jeff Gordon would stay out under the caution to restart the race in the first and second positions.
Johnson would lead until lap 129 when Kahne went blowing by for the lead. Right after Kahne had retaken the lead another caution came out for a crash by Franchitti and Hornish on lap 130. The leaders stayed out but some cars in the back of the field came down pit road for tires and fuel.
Kahne would lead the race until green flag stops took place around lap 150. This would allow Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Brian Vickers to take turns at the head of the field until Kahne resumed the lead with just 35 laps remaining.
Kahne would once again pit under green with 25 laps to go handing the lead over to Edwards. Edwards was leading when the one-tenth and final caution flag of the race came out for a spin by Kyle Busch with just 23 laps remaining. The leaders would pit with some drivers staying out because they had already made their final pit stop of the race.
Vickers would lead the restart, with Earnhardt Jr. and Kahne in second and third. Vickers tried to hold off Kahne but Vickers proved to be no match for Kahne as he took the lead with just 16 laps to go. Kahne would pull away from the rest of the field taking the checkered flag for the second time in three weeks.
The top 10 finishers were Kahne, Vickers, Hamlin, Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Edwards, and Mark Martin. Some notable finishes include Bobby Labonte in 11th, Jeff Gordon in 14th, and Stewart in 35th position.
The top 12 in the point standings are Kyle Busch, Burton, Earnhardt Jr., Edwards, Hamlin, Johnson, Biffle, Gordon, Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Bowyer, and Stewart.
Pocono is now in the history books and we can all look forward to a great weekend of Father's Day racing in Michigan.