The Tricky Triangle’s nickname comes from the need to shift and its unique layout, of course. It’s been known to shake things up. This time around, it didn’t disappoint. An excited day ended with a fan favorite capturing the win.
“I’ve lost some [races] in some strange ways, so it’s nice to win one this way,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. in victory lane Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.
The No. 88 took the checkered flag first after Brad Keselowski fumbled on-track. Keselowski, who was the dominant car of the day, collected some debris and suffered. He went behind a lapped Danica Patrick to get it loose, but she was going too slow. By the time the No. 2 realized this, Earnhardt Jr. soared past and didn’t look back. This is Earnhardt Jr.’s second win of 2014 and the first time in ten years he’s won multiple times in a season. It also secures his bid into The Chase.
About his controversial decision, Keselowski explained, “I just got a big piece of debris on the grille, and I had to do something . . .it was starting to blow up, and it was all I could do.” He was searching for his second win, hoping to top a beautiful day off with a cherry.
Other notable finishes: Kurt Busch (3rd), Denny Hamlin (4th/race polesitter), Kyle Larson (5th/top rookie), and Jimmie Johnson (6th/early issues on pit road).
There were multiple cautions throughout the day, yet only one was for a wreck. The incident involved Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne. Busch’s spotter failed to call him clear, and he came up into Kahne. Kahne smacked the wall and then ran nose-first into the barrier once he tried to drive off, seemingly having no brakes. Carl Edwards also got a piece of the mess.
Over the past few seasons, Busch and Kahne have squabbled various times, the No. 5 car on the receiving end. In a post-wreck interview with MRN, Kahne stated, “That’s just Kyle [Busch] being Kyle. He’s probably pissed off because his car was slow.” His upset is understood; he was running thirteenth and gaining at the time of the wreck, a bright spot during a horrific 2014. It seems like the driver is about to snap, and that is a rarity.
Speaking of rarities, TNT brought its A-game when it came to the pre-race, creating high expectations for the broadcast. It was okay for the first race of their summer stint, although they failed to have a reporter on-scene when Kahne came out of the care center. That, along with audio issues and eighteen commercial breaks during racing action, made for a shaky debut. They have five more races to work out the kinks.
Earnhardt Jr.’s win was weird, as was the race in its entirety; there was no rain, things were exciting, and everything had anticipation surrounding it. As the Summer Series kicks off, it’s looking like things are getting spicy. Who knew Pocono would create such flare.
Point Standings after the Pocono 400
1. Jeff Gordon (-)
2. Matt Kenseth (-16)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-22)
4. Jimmie Johnson (-23)
5. Brad Keselowski (-50)
6. Kyle Busch (-55)
7. Carl Edwards (-57)
8. Denny Hamlin (-78)
9. Joey Logano (-80)
10. Kyle Larson (-81)
11. Ryan Newman (-87)
12. Kevin Harvick (-95)
13. Brian Vickers (-106)
14. Greg Biffle (-113)
14. Austin Dillon (-113)
16. Clint Bowyer (-115)