An intense thunderstorm hit Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of Jeff Gordon as he went on to celebrate at an improvised Victory Lane.
Gordon didn’t lead a single lap of green-flag racing on Sunday, but he was at the front when it counted. NASCAR officials called the Pennsylvania 400 after 106 laps due to a vicious storm which soaked the area. The start of the race was delayed by almost two hours when it started to rain heavily just as the drivers were being introduced.
The veteran driver made the most of his opportunity on a restart on lap 91. Jimmie Johnson was in the lead but lost control of his car. Gordon avoided a number of cars caught up in the melee and found himself at the front of the pack.
“I’ve never seen the seven seas part like that,” said Gordon. “I just made it right to the bottom, stood on the gas and drove out… and we were leading.”
NASCAR allowed the cars to run seven laps under yellow, but with the rain intensifying officials decided it would be safer for everyone to park the cars on lap 106. The race was scheduled to run 160 laps.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer jumps over a puddle on his way back to the garage at Pocono Raceway. The start of the 2012 Pennsylvania 400 was delayed by two hours and the race was eventually shortened due to a vicious thunderstorm in the area.
Gordon was about to knock his lucky win, the 86th of his NASCAR career. He was bubbling with joy, in fact. The 2012 Sprint Cup season has been one of frustration for Gordon.
“The way our year has gone, we’ll definitely take it like this,” he said. “With all the things that have gone wrong for us this year, I’m hoping this is the one that makes up for it all.”
When the race was called, Kasey Kahne sat in second place and Martin Truex Jr. was third.
The Sprint Cup standings remained the same. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads by five points over Matt Kenseth in second and six points up on Greg Biffle in third.
The schedule rolls to upstate New York for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at The Glen on Aug. 12 at Watkins Glen International.