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The Pit Stop


August 3, 2009 9:29 PM

Denny Hamlin finally wins one.

Rain killed the race action for Sunday at Pocono.  This pushed the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 to Monday.  Tony Stewart was the poll sitter but a crash in practice had to put him back to the back.

Jimmie Johnson stated that he was looking forward to this day.

NASCAR is also going to throw out the competition yellow around lap 20 so teams can check for tire wear.

The green flag drops and it was smooth sailing for Jimmie Johnson as he bust out to a nice sized lead.  Tony Stewart was slowly moving up the field and got up to around the 30th place position and then on lap 11 he went down pit road to replace some tires he thought was bad.  It put him one lap down.

Green flag racing continued until lap 21 with Jimmie in the lead and the competition yellow popped out.  This put Tony back on the lead lap.  The leaders all came down and Denny Hamlin come out with the lead.

This led to the first long green flag run of the day where Denny Hamlin was leading laps.  At lap 53 it was the start of green flag pit stops and the Paul Menard blows out a tire to bring out the caution.  The leaders pit and it was Denny Hamlin winning the race off pit road again.

The green flag drops and Denny made a move down low before the start/finish line.  It caused him to get a warning from NASCAR to not do it.  Then at lap 62 it was a debris caution for part of the caution light to fly off and onto the ground.

This caution did not bring in the cars up front, but a bunch of cars in the back came in for service.  During this long green flag run Denny wound up leading more laps then at lap 86 it was Jeff Gordon starting green flag pit stops.  Denny came in three laps later.  

Lap 96 saw the next caution as Bobby Labonte spins out.  This caution brought in most cars on the lead lap for service.  Kaesy Kahne stays out to lead the race.  A few other cars up front stay out as well.

At lap 105 it was Jimmie Johnson slowing up big time.  He went to the pits and they quickly put a plug wire back in which fixed the problem and was able to get out in front of Kasey Kahne to stay on the lead lap, but was in 36th place.  Five laps later and it was Kasey being able to Jimmie to put him a lap down.

A couple more laps go by and Jimmie has been told by NASCAR to pick up his speed or he will have to go to pit road for service.

At lap 122 Denny Hamlin moved into second place as he passed David Reutimann.  Five laps later and it was the start of green flag pit stops.  Denny Hamlin comes in at lap 132.

Six more laps go by and Denny was right behind Kasey for the lead of the race and then took the lead back on the next lap.  The caution finally came out on lap 142 as David Ragan hit the wall hard.

This caution brought in all the cars on the lead lap. Denny Hamlin was able to win the race off pit road with Carl Edwards coming out in second.  During this caution time the carburetor got replaced on the Jimmie Johnson car, but did not loose any extra laps for it.

Mark Martin kept the lead of the race as he stays out.  Three other cars stayed out as well.  It was not a long green flag run and Robby Gordon spins out to bring out the caution on lap 149.  Jimmie Johnson wound up being the only car one lap down with this caution.  The spark plug wound up being the next thing replaced on his car.

The green flag drops with 48 laps left and in a couple laps Kurt Busch passed Mark Martin for the lead of the race.    Then with 43 laps to go it was David Stremme tapping Robby Gordon and sending him around.  Both of them wound up with a 5-lap penalty for aggressive driving.

With 39 laps left the green flag drops and Carl Edwards made a move to get second place.  The debris caution came out with 35 laps to go.  Juan Pablo Montoya and a couple other cars were able to pit right before the caution came out as all the other cars pit a couple laps later.

A lot of pit strategy occurred this time with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart taking on fuel only.

Clint Boyer was the leader of the race with 30 laps left.  In the back it got into some three wide racing.  With 28 laps left Juan Pablo Montoya moved into second and then at the end of the lap it was Kyle Busch hitting the wall, but did not bring out the caution.

The caution finally came out with 26 laps left around the start/finish line as David Reutimann gets dumped and smacks right into Marcos Ambrose.  This put Jimmie Johnson back on the lead lap.

The green flag dropped with 21 laps left and Juan Pablo Montoya got shifted back a few spots.  On the next lap in turn one David Ragan taps into Bobby Labonte sending him into the wall.  Then also winding up with damage was the cars of Michael Waltrip, David Reutimann, Jeff Burton, and Joey Logano.

"Pretty hard hit," said Bobby Labonte.  He also stated that everyone was like going for the same spot.

The green flag drops with 13 laps left.  With some more wild racing in turn one and Denny Hamlin made a move into second as Kasey Kahne and Juan Pable Montoya got together.  Juan got shuffled back to third.  Denny then moved into the lead.

Jimmie Johnson though wound up wsith a rocked of a car and moved up to 10th place with 10 laps left.  One lap later and Clint Boyer got sideways to give Juan second.  

Denny then went to win his first race of the 2009 season.

"Had some angles with us today," said Denny Hamlin on the win.  He was very emotional in victory lane.

Kasey Kahne said that his car got pushed on the restarts.  "I thought we had a shot at winning."

"That is what we needed," said Clint Boyer.

"Pretty good to start out the race," said Sam Hornish Jr.

Jimmie Johnson stated that he did not know what was wrong with the car, but a spark plug issue could have been the problem.  He finished the day in 13th.

At the end of the day Tony Stewart finished the day 197 points ahead of Jimmie Johsnon.

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