By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
While Pocono doesn’t always produce the greatest racing, with the field getting strung out more often than not, there are a few exceptions to the rule. The 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 was one of them.
Though the race began much like every other race at the “Tricky Triangle”, as the laps wound down, the action cranked up.
After the start of the race was delayed by rain, three drivers, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Clint Bowyer, asserted themselves as the cars to beat, leading all but one of the first 100 laps. The three drivers continued to stake their claim at the front of the field as the finish drew nearer, but after a caution came out on lap 168 during green flag pit stops, the running order was jumbled up.
Sam Hornish, Jr. took over at the front of the field and the cars that had been dominant stuck back mid-pack and having to fight their way back to the front.
Hornish held onto the lead for 16 laps before Hamlin surged from 16th place to the lead on lap 188. Hamlin pulled away and had the white flag in sight, but the caution flag flew before he could make it to the finish line and the race would be headed to a green-white-checkered finish.
In the lap 199 caution, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano were battling for fifth as the two drivers headed into Turn 3 side-by-side. Harvick got into Logano’s left rear quarter panel, sending Logano’s No. 20 car spinning. Harvick would go on to finish fourth, while Logano had to settle for a 13th place finish on the day.
The aftermath of the spin continued after the race as well as Logano parked right next to Harvick on pit road and then stormed towards Harvick’s No. 29 car, yelling while being restrained by his crew. After saying a few choice words, Logano went back to his hauler to meet with NASCAR about the incident.
“It’s disappointing to be honest with you,” said Logano. “We had a top-five run going there with the Home Depot Toyota and for us here that was going to be awesome and I was pretty pumped up about it, but we were racing the 29 and he let me go down the straightaway and then decided to dump me in the next turn. I don’t know what his deal is with me, but it’s probably not his fault, his wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do, so it’s probably not his fault.”
Once the race restarted for the two final laps, Hamlin pulled away to score his second straight and fourth career win a Pocono ahead of Busch, Tony Stewart, and Harvick.
“We had a good run,” Hamlin said. “We knew right from the get-go that first run when we took the lead early we had a good car. I felt like the track stayed pretty consistent. Our car stayed pretty consistent. There was some stuff, going back on it now when we come back that we’ll probably change to make our car a little bit better. We just conserved for most of the day. I wrote it on the dash because I knew I was going to have to use it all at the end.
“Races don’t come easy when you run first or third and you get the win at the end. There’s always a wrench that kind of gets thrown in there and messes up your whole plan. I knew it was going to be important to save everything I could till the very end, and when I needed to get more out of it, I could.”
However, the green-white-checkered finish wasn’t without incident as a massive crash broke out on the backstretch between Turns 1 and 2, sending cars spinning and even some airborne.
The accident occurred as a result of Kasey Kahne getting run down into the wet grass that runs alongside the low side of the track by his Richard Petty Motorsports teammate AJ Allmendinger, which caused Kahne to lose control of his No. 9 car and spin back across the track into the middle of the field.
Kahne was struck by Mark Martin and Greg Biffle, sending him airborne and nearly over the outside retaining wall as there was no catch fence in that section of the track. By the time the crash was done, a total of 10 cars were involved.
“There were a lot of guys up front that shouldn’t have been and weren’t very good and we were driving back by a lot of them and just got put in the grass. That’s part of it. I don’t know. Teammates…we’ve got to work on that a little bit maybe,” Kahne said. “I don’t talk to AJ (Allmendinger) hardly ever and I doubt I’m going to talk to him about this.”