(WOMR file photo)
There are several types of triangles.
There is the Bermuda Triangle, Pascal’s Triangle, a love triangle, and then there is “The Tricky Triangle”! I have been in the Bermuda Triangle, I am somewhat familiar with Pascal’s Triangle, I have known people involved in a love triangle, however I have never been to “The Tricky Triangle”, aka Pocono Raceway.
Today “The Tricky Triangle” was the focus of NASCAR. What started out to be a rainy morning, repeated itself in the late afternoon, that was after a brief period of overcast gloomy afternoon calm, causing the Pennsylvania 400 to be rain shortened.
As NASCAR rolled into Pocono Raceway there was only six races remaining before the Chase was to start. Desperation was beginning to set in at the Jeff Gordon camp, as it was also setting into several other prominent race teams. It is the time of the season to “let the big dog eat”, if you have any hopes in trying to secure a place in the Chase.
The rain shortened Pennsylvania 400 was the first victory of the 2012 season for Jeff Gordon. The victory was a direct results of rain coming after a wreck-caused caution, which came out on lap 91 of the scheduled 160-lap race.
“Finally had something go our way,” Gordon, who has had two DNFs on the season, said. “Don’t count us out.”
Kasey Kahne, Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports’ teammate and who circled the track with a flat tire during the final caution in hopes that the rain would end the race, finished second.
Jimmie Johnson, appeared headed to a second-straight victory as he had the lead, a fast car he most definitely had, and with rain appearing imminent on a restart on lap 91, it was those two facts that contributed to what formulated the end results of the race.
“When I was cooling my tires down through the tunnel turn coming to the green,” Johnson said, “I noticed that something didn’t feel right. I kept trying to clean the tires off and it got a little better so I just assumed I had trash on my tires, but when I got down into Turn 1 I realized that I had a right-rear (tire) flat. Unfortunate that we lost the lead there and we got a couple of cars in the process. I shouldn’t feel bad about that but not much you can do with a right-rear flat.”
Unfortunately heading into Turn 1, Johnson, who led 44 laps to that point, got loose, lost control of his race car, thereby causing Matt Kenseth’s car up into the wall. That wreck took out the car of Denny Hamlin and knocked Johnson back to 14th. That event turned out to be the defining moment of the race, allowing Gordon to inherit the lead before the rain cut loose.
With “Mr. Four-Time”, Jeff Gordon, inheriting the lead, the skies darkened. A couple of laps into the caution, the rain began to fall very hard. It didn’t take NASCAR long to call the race, in light of the fact that there was a rain delay to begin the race day, and also included into that decision was the fact that Pocono has no lights.
With Gordon’s victory in the Pennsylvania 400, he now has won more races at that facility, 6, than anyone else. This victory was also his 86th career win. However, and more importantly, this victory has put Gordon into the second wild card slot for the 2012 Chase! However that could, and most likely may, change week-to-week until after the Richmond race.
Gordon’s season long philosophy
“You can’t ever give up,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at. You’ve got to just 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. But, I think this is the one that makes up for all the ones that have gotten away. I’m just so proud of this team. They just never give up and they gave me a great race car today. To start 27th and only have one caution, and work our way all the way up there like that, is pretty awesome.