With only three races remaining before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series arrives in Atlanta for the AdvoCare 500 Labor Day weekend, the battle for the final two wild-card positions in the Chase for the Sprint Cup was turned upside down on Sunday with Jeff Gordon’s win at Pocono.Gordon, the defending winner of last season’s AdvoCare 500, successfully defended his Pocono victory from 2011 with a pass on the race’s final restart.
With inclement weather approaching, a lap 91 restart set up a thrilling finish to the event. Entering the first turn, leader Jimmie Johnson suffered a flat tire, causing him to slide up the track and into second-place Matt Kenseth. As the two slowed to maintain their cars, Gordon sped by underneath to grab the lead. A melee behind the leaders would ensue, placing the field under the yellow flag.
When heavy rains began to pelt the Pennsylvania speedway, the race was declared official after 98 laps, giving Gordon his 86th-career win and his first in 2012. Even more important, the victory vaulted ahead two positions in the points standings, currently placing him in the second wild-card spot in the Chase standings via a tiebreaker over Ryan Newman.
“For all the things that have gone wrong for us this year, I still can’t believe what just happened,” Gordon said after the race. “But, I think this is the one that makes up for all the ones that have gotten away. I’m just so proud of this team.”
The wild-card fight remains close, with Kasey Kahne leading the competing drivers with two wins. Only three points back is Carl Edwards, followed by Gordon, Newman, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Joey Logano. These drivers will contest the race for Chase positioning all the way down to the final lap at Richmond. With Atlanta playing host to the second-to-last race prior to the Chase cutoff, the AdvoCare 500 promises to be can’t-miss racing drama for all NASCAR Fans when the series invades the 1.54-mile speedway on Sunday night, Sept. 2.
NASCAR night racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2012. Reserve your AdvoCare 500 tickets now. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.