News & Media

Wreck on restart takes out top Pocono contenders

August 06, 2012, Seth Livingstone, Special to NASCAR.COM,

LONG POND, Pa. -- For the second week in a row, Jimmie Johnson had the dominant race car. If any driver had the chance to catch him, it appeared to be Matt Kenseth.

With storm clouds looming on the horizon, Johnson and Kenseth restarted side-by-side on Lap 91 of Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Johnson was on the inside as each driver got a little squirrely in Turn 1. The two made contact, sending both cars spinning out of contention and allowing Jeff Gordon to slide through for the eventual win.

"When I was cooling my tires down through the tunnel [turn] coming to the green, I noticed that something didn't feel right," said Johnson, who led a race-high 44 laps and finished 14th. "I kept trying to clean the tires off, and it got a little better. I just assumed I had trash on my tires, but when I got down into Turn 1, I realized that I had a right-rear flat. Unfortunate that we lost the lead there and we got a couple of cars in the process. ... Not much you can do with a right-rear flat."

Kenseth ended up 23rd.

"The plan [was] to dig as hard as I could through there and try to race him off that corner," Kenseth said. "He just drove in incredibly far and spun out. Maybe he had a flat. ... I'm not mad at him because he's racing for the win, too. [But] we are in a situation where we need to win some races."

The incident also collected the top-five cars of Greg Biffle, who finished 15th, early-race leader Denny Hamlin (29th) and Jeff Burton (22nd).

Before the race could be resumed, torrential rains and lightning enveloped the track, forcing the event to be called after 98 of the scheduled 160 laps.

Pocono videos: Chaos ensues with rain threatening | Final Laps | Post-Race Reactions