Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jeff Gordon has Mother Nature to thank for first win of 2012

Jeff Gordon and family celebrating in Victory Lane following a very wet
Pennsylvania 400.
Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
The inevitable Pocono rain came at the right time for Jeff Gordon who won the 39th Annual Pennsylvania 400 for a total of 86 victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Gordon, who started the race from 27th, was the only Hendrick driver who had yet to earn a victory this season. This is his ninth top-10 finish in 2012 and sixth win at Pocono, which puts him at the top of the all-time Pocono wins list. 

The finish puts Gordon in position No. 2 in the Wild Card standings alongside Kasey Kahne who occupies the No. 1 position. 

Kahne, Gordon's Hendrick teammate posted a second-place finish for his sixth top-10 finish in 18 races at Pocono. This is Kahne's 11th top-10 and six top fives. 

Aside from Gordon and Kahne, rounding out the top five were Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart.

According to the unofficial standings, the top four remains the same and includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson. Truex, Stewart and Keselowski each gained two positions. Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick lost three positions.

Prior to Gordon taking the lead, teammate Johnson got loose on the restart and knocked into Kenseth, which also took Hamlin out of contention - with the entire front field out of his way, Gordon seized the opportunity and charged past to take the lead.

The cars were sent to the garage with 98 of the 160 laps completed.

After the race was officially called by NASCAR, in learning about his win, Gordon said, "You can't never give up. It doesn't matter where you're at. You've got to try to go out there and win races. For all the things that have gone wrong for us this year, I still can't believe what just happened."

Points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished the race in 32nd after he was forced to the garage for a transmission problem. Pole-sitter Juan Pablo Montoya finished 20th.

After the race, Pocono Raceway reported that three people were struck by lightning in the parking lot located behind the main grandstands. Of the three, one was evaluated by the track and released while the other two were sent to an area hospital. There have been no reports on the condition of the two hospitalized.

Unofficial Race Results for the Pennsylvania 400:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Tony Stewart
6. Ryan Newman
7. Carl Edwards
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Regan Smith
10. Marcos Ambrose
11. Paul Menard
12. Mark Martin
13. Joey Logano
14. Jimmie Johnson
15. Greg Biffle
16. Kevin Harvick
17. Jamie McMurray
18. Aric Almirola
19. Sam Hornish Jr.
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. David Gilliland
22. Jeff Burton
23. Matt Kenseth
24. David Reutimann
25. Travis Kvapil
26. Landon Cassill
27. Bobby Labonte
28. David Ragan
29. Denny Hamlin
30. Kurt Busch
31. Jason White
32. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
33. Kyle Busch
34. David Stremme
35. Casey Mears
36. Joe Nemechek
37. Josh Wise
38. Tony Raines
39. Mike Bliss
40. JJ Yeley
41. Mike Skinner
42. Reed Sorenson
43. Scott Riggs

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