Race Rewind: Looking back at the Party In The Poconos 400
Sunday, Jun. 09, 2013
Rear view mirror
• It's not often that a driver dominates a race the way Jimmie Johnson did. And leading 128 of 160 laps, having a driver rating of 148.1 and an average place of 1.2 is just that: dominating.
• The only chance anybody had at beating Johnson was by thinking out of the box. That's what Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland did in using an off-sequence pit strategy that allowed him to lead three times for 19 laps. Didn't work, though.
• Carl Edwards remains second in the points, but now trails Johnson by 51 points. As Johnson hits a part of the schedule where he usually excels, that's an even larger gap than it might appear.
Biffle second, but 'struggled'
Greg Biffle finished second in his No. 16 Ford, but wasn't sure how.
"We were struggling for track position all day," said Biffle, who had just his second top-five finish of the season. "I felt like I was as good as (Johnson) in (turns) 1 and 2, but 3 and 4, he was really just driving away from everybody."
Biffle picked up three spots in the points standings and is now inside the Chase at 10th.
"It was a good day for us," he said.
Ryan Newman led three times for 19 laps and was hoping that by using an out-of-sequence pit strategy that he might be able to beat Johnson.
Although it ultimately didn't work, Newman stayed near the front and finished fifth, his best performance since finishing fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500.
"The strategy worked out to our benefit with the yellows there at the end," said Newman.
It was a good day for Newman and Tony Stewart, his teammate (and boss) at Stewart-Haas Racing. After winning at Dover last week, Stewart was fourth at Pocono. Newman finished 36th at Dover after wrecking.
"It's definitely progress," said Stewart of his team's performance. "It's one thing if one car runs good, but to have two or all three of us running good shows that we are gaining momentum."
Danica Patrick, the third driver at SHR, finished 29th in her first race at Pocono.
Kahne has early problem
Kasey Kahne's Chevy developed a vibration on the first lap of the race.
"We have no idea yet (what happened)," said Kahne, who would eventually finish 36th, 19 laps down. "I know when I took off, in second gear, I had no power and it was just vibrating like crazy. The faster I went, the worst the vibration was."
Kahne said his car ran fine the rest of the day after his crew made adjustments.
"But you can't make up (19) laps at Pocono," he said.
Youth is served
Two of racing's potential stars of the future - Chase Elliott, 17, and Jeb Burton, 20 • had good weekends. Elliott - son of Cup legend Bill Elliott - won Saturday's ARCA race at Pocono, the youngest winner in that series' history. Burton - son of former Cup driver Ward Burton and nephew of Jeff Burton - was the winner at Friday's Truck race at Texas. Ward Burton served as the spotter in his son's first NASCAR victory.
5 Key Moments
• Starting on the front row with pole-sitter Johnson, Carl Edwards quickly takes the lead and stays in front for nine laps.
• Johnson takes first lead on Lap 10, an early hint of his dominance.
• Ryan Newman, using an off-sequence pit strategy, goes to the lead on Lap 101 and stays in front for 13 laps after Johnson pits.
• After another pit stop, Johnson again overtakes Newman on Lap 130 and doesn't trail again.
• Dave Blaney crashes on Lap 155, forcing one final re-start that Johnson easily handles.
Quicken Loans 400
Where: Michigan International Raceway, Brooklyn, Mich.
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Radio: Motor Racing Network
Last year's winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.