(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Greg Biffle used a two tire pit strategy on his final pit stop, parlaying that into winning the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Entering the pits with 35 laps to go in fourth place, the team took only two tires, while Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Tony Stewart all took four tires. That decision put Biffle out on the front row for the restart. When the green waved, Biffle ran off and hid from the rest of the field!
Biffle was a on a rather lengthy winless streak, 64 races, his last victory came at Dover in 2008. The Roush-Fenway Racing victory Sunday was also Ford’s first win of the 2010 race season.
Notwithstanding the significance of the win for both Roush-Fenway Racing and Ford, the race highlighted another important aspect of racing, safety or the lack thereof. There was a nasty crash with just 35 laps to go in the race. The reigning and four-time Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson, precipitated a huge, and nearly catastrophic, melee on the back straight of Pocono.
Johnson ran into the back of Kurt Busch’s Penske Racing #2 Miller Lite Dodge, turned him into the outside retaining wall. After careening off of the fence, Busch came back into the line of traffic, took a T-bone shot from Clint Bowyer’s car, sending Busch’s race car hurtling sideways into the infield, ricocheting off the inside retaining wall, loosing the right front wheel assembly, and sliding to a stop on the apron of the track.
While witnessing the impending Busch crash out of his front windshield, Elliott Sadler checked up and started grabbing a brake to avoid what he was watching happening front of him. Unfortunately, the car that was directly behind Sadler was not able to slow his race car down and “punted” Sadler. The force from the “rear-ender” was all that was needed to send Sadler into the infield grass totally out of control. The wet grass at race tracks acts just like “black ice” on blacktop, and in fact, will accelerate the speed of the car!
The force of the Sadler crash with the infield guard rail was horrendous! The impact of the crash ripped the radiator, engine, transmission, and the right front wheel assembly completely off the race car. All that equipment ended many feet from where the rest of the race car came to a stop. There was very little left of the front end from the firewall forward! Quite remarkably Elliott Sadler climbed out of his race car, albeit, stunned and extremely sore, no doubt!
Had this wreck happened just a few short years ago, there could quite possibly have been a couple of fatalities in likes of Elliott Sadler and Kurt Busch!
Fortunately, the new CoT was build with safety foremost in mind! Additionally, the advent of the HANS device and the “cocoon” type racing seats are life savers!
Furthermore, it would appear the the Matiolli family has much work to do to get Pocono Raceway up to the current safety standards that the rest of the venues have attained! Pocono’s inside guard rails appear to be sub-par and in dire need of upgrading for the safety of the drivers.
What is your view on these subjects?
Here is the unofficial results of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!