[media-credit id=26 align=”alignright” width=”243″][/media-credit]Jimmie and Jeff, taking turns ruling the roost at Dover, at least they did until a fox ventured into the hen house in the form of a loose wheel that required a unscheduled stop for tightening. Yes, Gordon could not only challenge Johnson, he could pass him, but no matter how lovely the picnic is, one bite of a crap sandwich will ruin the entire day. 13th was not the fate Four Time needed.
Five Time, on the other hand, picked up his second victory over the past three contests, leaving him fifth in the standings with a pretty good hold on a place in the Chase. With Gordon playing catch up, no one was going to prevent Johnson from claiming his 57th career victory, his seventh on the Monster Mile.
The guy he loaned his title to last year did not get very far before bad things happened. Just nine laps in Stewart slowed as a car got loose in front of him, but Regan Smith could not stop in time behind him. Thirteen cars got caught up in the mess as Stewart finished 25th while Juan Pablo Montoya landed 28th. Stewart is eighth overall, just seven points ahead of 11th place Brad Keselowski, but his two wins still keeps him well above water. Montoya is 20th in the standings, a spot ahead of Gordon, as both see at least two wins as their most viable way to salvation.
Ryan Newman has a win, but is outside the Top Ten, in 13th. He finished 15th after having a tire roll away in the pits and coming close to running down Clint Bowyer’s jackman. Carl Edwards is 12th, has no wins, and no luck at Dover after a blown tire sent him to the garage for repairs and a 26th place finish. Kyle Busch has a win, still is clinging to the Top Ten, but blew up to sit 29th on the weekend. A lot of boys will be seeking redemption heading into this upcoming weekend.
Pocono awaits them on Sunday, a race won last year by Jeff Gordon. Well, it awaits everyone but Kurt Busch. A day after blowing a gasket at a reporter following the Nationwide race, he blew an engine in the Cup race to wind up 24th. That is about 20 spots better than this upcoming weekend as his tirade got him suspended by NASCAR for a week. As for making the Chase, the boy has enough on his plate avoiding problems from week to week. Stupid is as stupid does, but at least Forrest Gump only got upset when someone tried to take liberties with Jenny.
Don’t expect many changes, if any, in our Chase placers at Pocono. Edwards could replace Bowyer with a win, or by finishing at least 16 spots ahead of him. Ryan Newman is in now, but could lose it if Kasey Kahne finishes ahead of him on Sunday or if Kyle Busch tumbles out of the Top Ten and gets the wildcard nod.
As for Junior, he might not have won in nearly four years, but going back to Homestead his worst finish in 14 races is 17th, an average finish of eighth over that time. Earnhardt may have never won at Pocono, but he hasn’t won anywhere else in recent years for that matter. Why not now? Enjoy the week.