Found August 07, 2012 on
Race Review Online:
The weekend's action at Pocono featured more dominating performances by the Hendrick drivers, although even though an HMS man won the race, it wasn't either of the two who looked to have winning cars. No matter. All four are now in position to make the Chase.
Which drivers are on the move after a wild and wet afternoon in the Poconos? Read on to find out.
Up: Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne
The Hendrick boys in the 5-24 Hendrick garage were good at Pocono, but not the class of the field. That didn't matter when the top four car took themselves out of contention on the final restart, parting the seas and allowing Gordon and Kahne to move to the front of the pack, just moments before the heavens opened and the race ended under torrents of rain.
Down: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson
Lucky for the HMS contingent, it was the two drivers already assured of places in the Chase who had bad luck on Sunday. They had great cars, to be sure, leading about two-thirds of the laps completed before rain put an end to the proceedings, but a broken transmission for Earnhardt and a flat tire for the No. 48 on the final restart doomed their chances for a win and caused them to take a hit in the points.
Up: Brad Keselowski
Last year's August Pocono winner didn't repeat, but he did put together a decent run and finish in the top five. Bad Brad's performance has been spotty over much of the year, and he needs to find a way to run more consistently if he wants to be a factor in the Chase. No one doubts his ability to find Victory Lane, but it's what he does on days when he doesn't have a winning car that is the issue with the Miller Lite team.
Down: Kyle Busch
Busch's bad luck continued after a one-race reprieve at the Brickyard. A broken brake rotor sent him into the wall at Pocono and dropped him to 15th in the points, behind both Jeff Gordon and fellow one-time winner Ryan Newman. At this point, it will almost certainly take a win for Busch to make the Chase, but with the way he's been running, I don't like his chances.
Up: Martin Truex Jr.
In need of a good run, the driver of the No. 56 got one at Pocono and solidified his top-10 standing in the points with a third-place finish. Truex is now fifth in the standings and 72 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne, a safe margin with five races to go before the Chase field is set. He can focus on doing the one thing his team hasn't done so far in 2012: win races and earn a few bonus points before the start of NASCAR's postseason.
Down: Pocono Raceway
The "Tricky Triangle" may have a cool nickname, but once again it lived up (or down) to its reputation for having bad weather. Things took a tragic turn when lightning struck a tent after the race, injuring nine fans and killing one. It doesn't appear that NASCAR did anything wrong, but regardless of whether there is anyone to blame, it's a sad day and a bad mark on Pocono's record.
Up: Shorter races at Pocono
Both Pocono races were shortened to 400 miles in 2012, and that move paid dividends because it allowed the race to be completed in one day, despite the rain. At 98 laps, the race would have been just shy of the previous halfway point at the old 200-lap distance.
Down: Carl Edwards
If Cousin Carl wants to earn a Wild Card berth make the Chase the year after finishing runner-up to Tony Stewart, he needs to win, and pronto. That doesn't appear to be a likely proposition, even for a driver who four years ago made an amazing nine visits to Victory Lane. The laps led totals tell the story: Edwards has paced the field for just 207 laps all year long, with 202 of those coming at Richmond. He's on pace for his lowest laps led total since 2009--when he went winless, one year after after finishing runner-up to Jimmie Johnson in the 2008 title hunt. Deja vu, anyone?
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