Race Review: Pennsylvania 500

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Hello, race fans. Actually, the race was called the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Presented by Old Spice Swagger. But that wouldn’t fit in my title space. This is the twenty-first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. And the second visit to Pocono this year. Usually, when they go to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. it rains at least some of the weekend. This visit was no exception. Qualifying was rained out on Friday. So the field was set by owner points, with Tony Stewart and Jimmy Johnson on the front row. This time, not only was qualifying rained out, the race was rained out. The race was run on Monday, under sunny skies. There will be a competition caution on lap 20 so everyone can see what the green track is doing to the tires. They can pit before lap 20, but may not add fuel.

Tony Stewart crashed his car into the wall during practice on Saturday, so he will start from the rear in his back-up car. He did that the last time we came to Pa. and won the race. Can he do it again? We’ll see. 09 this time is veteran Sterling Marlin. 36 is Patrick Carpentier. And 64 is Mike Wallace. With 14 Tony Stewart, starting from the rear, 24 Jeff Gordon will start from the pole.

So, here we go! 48 Jimmy Johnson leads and sets sail. 14 thinks he has a flat tire and pits. He goes a lap down, but will get it back when the competition caution comes out in six more laps. And the car is easier to drive. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya and 39 Ryan Newman battle for ninth. 42 keeps the spot.

The competition caution comes out on lap twenty-one. 14 Tony Stewart is the Lucky Dog and gets his lap back. 11 Denny Hamlin comes out of the pits first. 71 David Gilliland stays out a lap to lead, then pits. 7 Robby Gordon was too fast on pit road. 11 chooses the outside for the restart. 39 and 18 Kyle Busch battle. 5 Mark Martin pushes 39 past 18. 18 gets by 5, and they battle some more. 42 bumps 18 ahead of 5, and gets by 5. 42 gets by 18 for eighth.

The second caution comes out when 98 Paul Menard cuts a tire. 14 goes into the pits for more adjustments. 11, the leader pulls ahead. 42 and 18 battle again and 39 and 9 Kasey Kahne battle. 11 gets warned not to change lanes before the Finish Line at the restart. 9, 39 and 5 get by 18. 5 catches and passes 39.

The third caution comes out when they blow the cover off the caution light. 98 Paul Menard gets his lap back. 14 is now too tight, after being too loose. 20 Joey Logano and 31 Jeff Burton battle for position. 6 David Ragan gets by 31 for twenty-third. 47 Marcos Ambrose gets by 31. And Green Flag Pitting begins. 00 David Reutimann leads. 17 Matt Kenseth leads when 00 pits. 6 leads when 17 pits. 47 leads when 6 pits. 47 pits and 11 is back in the lead. 14 hasn’t pitted yet. He’s in third. 99 Carl Edwards on four new tires, drives by 14 for third.

The fourth caution comes out during the commercial, while 14 is in the pits. So, he stays on the lead lap. 96 Bobby Labonte was sent spinning. 9, 00, 17, 6, 47, 26 Jamie McMurray, 14 and 19 Elliott Sadler stay out, as they had just pitted. 48 takes four tires and finds himself in nineteenth. 18 pushes 99 past 19. 48 is falling back on the straight-away. He decides something is wrong with the engine and pits. Maybe a plug wire. He comes back out in front of the leader 9. After a few laps, 9 puts 48 a lap down. But he is the only car not on the lead lap. 48 gets warned about not keeping the minimum speed. 14 and 99 get by 6. 18 and 29 Kevin Harvick battle. 12 David Stremme gets by 18. 42 gets by 18 for twenty-first. 42 gets by 12.

On lap 126, 26 starts another round of Green Flag Pitting. 9 heads for the pits, and 11 takes the lead. 29 leads when 11 pits. 9 leads when 29 pits. 48 is now two laps down in thirty-sixth. 11 catches 9 and takes the lead. 99 gets by 17 for sixth. 5 and 47 battle for eighth.

The fifth caution comes out on lap 142, when 6 gets into the wall. 48 pits early and has the hood up. He leaves the pits as the leaders enter pit road. They changed the carburetor. 5, as the leader, chooses the outside for the restart, when 5, 83 Brian Vickers, 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. and 31 stay out. 1 Martim Truex, Jr. and 34 John Andretti stay out and get the wave around. 42 drives through the middle to get by both cars. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. gets by 18. 9 goes through the middle for fifth.

The sixth caution comes out for spinning 7 Robby Gordon. 12 got into him. 48 gets one of his two laps back. The leaders stay out. 48 pits to change spark plugs. And he has to come back in for the hood pin. 2 Kurt Busch takes the lead from 5. 42 gets by 20 Joey Logano for fifteenth. 48 is now three laps down.

The seventh caution comes out when 7 and 12 get racing each other. 7 bumps 12 and gets by. 12 retaliates and sends 7 spinning. They both get docked 5 laps. Gordon, for hitting Stremme during the last caution. Stremme for rough driving. 48 is now two laps down. 18 and 29 battle. 20 gets by 96 Bobby Labonte.

The eighth caution comes out during the commercial for debris.42, 77 and 82 Scott Speed were in the pits when the caution came out. So they stay on the track. 88 gets fuel only to come out of the pits first. 33 Clint Bowyer already pit and is now leading. He chooses the outside. 82 gets waved around. 48 is now one lap down. They go Green with thirty laps to go. There is lots of three-wide out there. 18 gets into the wall. 5 gets by 99.

The ninth caution comes out when 11 knocks 00 into 47 and they both go off spinning. 39 gets by. The back half comes in for tires. 48 is now on the lead lap! 33 chooses the outside. 77 and 9 get by 42. The tenth caution comes out when 6 gets into 96, who spins into 20. They collect 43 Reed Sorenson and 55 Michael Waltrip. 96 was trying to be patient, but no one else was. 48 manages to get by it all.

9 and 42 get together, but they both recover. 39 and 88 get together. 11 and 33 battle for the lead. 11 takes the lead. 48 gets by 2 for tenth! 33 gets loose and 42 gets by for second. 44 AJ Allmendinger gets by 99 for nineteenth. 2 and 48 battle again. 24  gets by 48. And they battle again. 14 gets by 17. 9 and 77 battle for fourth. 9 finally gets by. 77 gets back by 9. 83 is all over 9. 5 and 83 battle for sixth. 83 keeps the spot.

And 11 Denny Hamlin wins the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. His Grandmother has just died, so it is a very emotional win for him. And pretty quiet in Victory Lane. What a great race! So much racing going on. And they said Pocono was a boring race. Wrong!

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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