Here are four storylines from Sunday’s NASCAR Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway:
1. The 24 finally catches a break. Jeff Gordon picked up his first win in nearly a year on Sunday, and he can thank two people: his teammate and Mother Nature. On a restart with 62 laps ago, Jimmie Johnson, who was leading the race, got loose on a restart and wrecked himself and Matt Kenseth, who in turn took out Denny Hamlin. Gordon missed the crash, and took the lead when the caution came out. After the yellow came out, the skies opened up, and the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet finally won a race in 2012.
2. Junior maintains the points lead….barely. This was not a good day for Junior Nation. Dale Earnhardt Jr. busted a transmission on Lap 51. He had to go to the garage. He did return to the race, but finished 32nd, his worst of the season. But because of 2nd place Kenseth’s wreck, Junior stayed in the points lead.
3. Bad day for Busch….times two. Kyle smacked the wall in Turn 1 and finished 33rd. His brother Kurt introduced himself to the wall in Turn 2 and ended up 30th. There is joy abound for all the fans who can’t stand the brothers Busch. And for those who follow the No. 18 or 51, well, there is no joy abound.
4. Kahne stays hot. Kasey Kahne continues his turnaround from an awful start to the year. His 2nd place finish at Pocono was his fourth top ten finish in the last five races, including a win at New Hampshire. He is establishing himself as a serious contender when the Chase gets underway in September.
Next week: it’s off to Watkins Glen, the second road course race of the season. Get ready to turn left…..and right.