NASCAR: Late restart propels Kasey Kahne to win at Pocono
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series headed back to Pocono this weekend. In June it was Jimmie Johnson who led the way and dominated that race. Johnson picked up exactly where he left off and earned the pole and would lead the field to green.
Due to rain that moved in overnight Friday and early Saturday both practices were washed out. Track time was limited so NASCAR allowed a competition caution at lap 20.
The yellow flag was waved early when Juan Pablo Montoya and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. made contact sending both into the wall and collecting Matt Kenseth.
Stenhouse would go to the garage with hopes to get back on track. Montoya would continue but with a lot of damage to his car.
The race would restart and go green until lap 14 when Denny Hamlin who has had a rough season would lose a tire and spin to bring out the caution.
NASCAR ruled that Hamlin’s caution would be the competition caution. Some of the leaders would pit while most others would hit pit road for either fuel or two tires.
The leaders who did not pit on the competition caution started to pit under green. Johnson would cycle back to the lead.
Caution waved for David Gilliand who hit the wall would tighten up the field and allow those teams who needed adjustments another opportunity to hit pit road.
Johnson and some of the leaders hit pit road for their next round of pit stops. After leading the race early on Johnson found himself mid-pack and in traffic.
The restart was fairly calm as drivers settled in but Tony Stewart was penalized on that pit stop for speeding and would restart at the back of the pack.
As green fag stops were happening Johnson had cycled back to the lead but a cut tire sent Johnson onto pit road and saw his chances of winning take a hit.
He had significant damage to his race car but was able to stay on the lead lap and make repairs.
With 50 laps to go Danica Patrick and Travis Kvapil made slight contact and it collected Paul Menard and Jeff Burton. The leaders all had to pit at least one more time but most would stay out for track position.
On the restart Kasey Kahne would continue his second half dominance as he pulled away from the pack as teams began preparing for the final pit stop of the race.
The field cycled around cleanly with Kahne maintaining his lead but Jeff Gordon was suddenly in second with the laps winding down.
Caution waved with just 11 laps to go tightening up the field and erasing a seven second lead for Kahne.
Kenseth’s spin and bring out the caution just after Gordon took the lead as the laps were winding down.
Gordon would pull away on the restart but Kahne would get a run on the outside and Kahne never looked back.
The rest of the top 10 were Gordon, Ku. Busch, Ryan Newman, Earnhardt, Brad Keselowski, Logano, Ky. Busch, Stewart and Greg Biffle
Next the series heads to Watkins Glen next Sunday 12ET on ESPN.