Roush Rewind: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500

The Sprint Cup series made its second stop at Pocono Raceway on Sunday for the running of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Some fans find the track to have boring racing action while some drivers just find it to be one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit. Every time the series heads to Pocono, it seems the rain follows. Sunday was no different. It was a long day under gray skies for the drivers as they had to wait out a rain delay before the race was set to start. Rain even threatened the completion of the race, but there would be no rain shortened race on Sunday. All 200 laps would be run at the Tricky Triangle.

The Roush Fenway Racing drivers headed to Pocono with more than just racing on their minds. Team owner Jack Roush was injured in a plane crash early last week. Roush was—and still is—at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where his condition was upgraded from serious to fair on Monday. After strong performances at Indianapolis last week, all four of the Roush Fenway Racing drivers wanted to bring home a win for their injured team owner. While they all tried their best, it was Greg Biffle who would win the race.

For Matt Kenseth, Pocono proved be one big challenge. He qualified 26th in the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford, and from the get-go, Kenseth had to battle a loose-handling racecar. A competition caution on lap 15 gave Kenseth and the Crown Royal crew the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments during a two-tire stop. Kenseth restarted 4th thanks to only taking two tires, but it didn’t take long for the drivers who took four tires to pass him. A long green flag run found Kenseth running around the 19th and 20th position. Then just past the halfway point, Kenseth was lapped by the leader. A caution for debris came out on lap 122, and crew chief Jimmy Fennig opted for the wave around. Kenseth pitted after the race restarted. His crew pulled off a quick 12.5-second stop, which allowed Kenseth to stay on the lead lap in the 19th position. The leader was only a straight-away behind him. Relief from having to struggle to remain on the lead lap came in the form of another debris caution on lap 145. Still on the lead lap, Kenseth was able to pit with the leaders and began to work his way through the field. The caution flag flew again on lap 165 when Kurt Busch crashed and hit the inside wall after Jimmie Johnson made contact with him on the straight-away. Elliott Sadler was hit from behind when trying to avoid Busch’s crash, which resulted in him crashing hard into an inside barrier. The red flag waved as crews began to clean up the debris and make repairs to the inside barrier. Under the red flag, Kenseth and Fennig discussed their pit strategy. With rain threatening to cause officials to call the race early, both driver and crew chief agreed that a four-tire stop would be their best option. When pit road was finally open, Kenseth came in 11th but would restart 15th due to some teams taking two tires or just making a fuel-only stop. Drivers battled two- and three-wide for position following the restart. Kenseth fought back, but his ill-handling racecar made it impossible to gain positions, even with four fresh tires. He finished 15th and is 9th in the standings.

David Ragan had an early draw for qualifying, but it didn’t stop him from getting an okay starting position for Sunday’s race. He took the green flag in the 18th position. Since the competition caution was scheduled for lap 15, Ragan spent the early laps just getting the feel of his racecar so his crew could make the necessary adjustments when he pitted. So, when the yellow flag waved on lap 15, Ragan headed for pitted for four tires, fuel, and track and air pressure adjustments to correct the tight-handling condition of his car. Ragan fell back to the 22nd position after the restart, and due to a long green-flag run, he was a lap down by lap 86. His crew had made adjustments under green twice before he lost the lap, but nothing seemed to help give Ragan the grip he needed. When the caution came out for debris on lap 122, crew chief Donnie Wingo opted for the wave around. Like Kenseth, Ragan restarted with the leaders, but pitted under green a lap after the restart. It was another four-tire stop and Ragan’s crew made a wedge adjustment as well. The caution came out again shortly afterward, which allowed Ragan to avoid being lapped again. He pitted under the caution for four tires, fuel, a track bar adjustment, and an air pressure adjustment. When the red flag came after the incident involving Busch and Sadler, Ragan was in the 18th position. Rain began to fall, causing the restart to be called off and the red flag was displayed again. In an effort to gain positions, Wingo called Ragan down pit road for a fuel-only stop once pit road was open. The move had Ragan sitting in the 5th position for the restart. It was a gutsy move, but in the end he held on to finish 14th. He is 24th in the standings.

Carl Edwards started Sunday’s race in the 25th position. He was up to 21st when the competition caution came out on lap 15. Edwards’s crew made slight wedge and air pressure adjustments during the stop and he was still 21st when the green flag waved again. Edwards was up to 12th by lap 42 and remained around that position during the long green-flag run that had drivers pitting three times under green. Edwards stayed out to lead lap 79 so he could gain five bonus points. Halfway through the race, he was up to the 10th position. Handling issues plagued the No. 99. Edwards informed crew chief Bob Osborne that the car was loose off turn two, tight in turn three. On lap 107, Edwards made a green-flag stop for four tires and fuel. His crew also made air pressure and wedge adjustments. He made another pit stop on lap 145 when the caution came out for debris and was 7th for the restart. The caution came out a few laps later when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spun, Osborne told Edwards to stay out and maintain track position. After the nearly 30-minute red flag following the multi-car incident on lap 165, Edwards made a two-tire stop and was third for the restart. He fell to fourth after Tony Stewart passed him then passed Sam Hornish, Jr. Edwards had to problems taking third from Hornish, Jr. and would go on to finish third. He is 10th in the standings.

After coming so close to winning at Indianapolis, Greg Biffle and his crew were determined to do all they could to win at Pocono on Sunday. Biffle qualified 12th in the No. 16 3M Ford, but during final practice on Saturday, he struggled to find the speed he would need to contend for the win on Sunday. The No. 16 team knew the race would be a challenge. It was a challenge they take head-on and give it their all to be victorious. Biffle’s complaints about his car came at just about the same time the green flag waved to start the race. He reported his car was just way too tight and was 19th when the caution came out on lap 15. He pitted for two tires, fuel, an air pressure adjustment as well as a track bar adjustment. Biffle restarted 2nd on lap 19, and took the lead on lap 20, only leading two laps before getting passed by Jimmie Johnson, who had taken four tires. After two rounds of green-flag stops, Biffle was still hanging tough inside the top ten, but the tight-handling issues were still present. He was in the 12th position when he pitted for a third time under green. It was a stop for four tires and fuel while his crew made air pressure and wedge adjustments. He remained in the 12th position until the caution came out on lap 122 for debris. Crew chief Greg Erwin called for a two-tire stop in order to gain track position. The 3M Pit Bulls made the two-tire stop in under seven seconds, which allowed Biffle to restart in the lead. However, the drivers who took two tires easily passed Biffle, and he was fourth just a few laps later. Biffle pitted under the caution on lap 145 for four tires and fuel. He was happy with the car’s handling so no adjustments were made. He was in the fourth position when the multi-car accident occurred on lap 165. Biffle made another two-tire stop to pick up track position and was 2nd, behind Hornish, Jr. for the restart on lap 179. Biffle took the lead and never looked back. He finished nearly four seconds ahead of runner-up Tony Stewart and is 11th in the standings.

After running away with the lead during the closing laps, Greg Biffle earned his first win of the 2010 season. It was also Roush Fenway Racing’s first win of the season and the organization’s fourth win overall at Pocono. As Biffle took the checkered flag, he made sure to let everyone know that “This one’s for Jack.” After all the hard work Biffle and his crew had done the past few races, it was a well deserved win for his team and the entire organization. Congratulations to Greg Biffle and the No. 16 team on their victory!

And of course…Get well soon, Jack!

Next up: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International
Roush Rewind: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Roush Rewind: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Reviewed by Whitney R. on Wednesday, August 04, 2010 Rating: 5