LONG POND, Pa. — Greg Biffle finished second Sunday in the Party in the Poconos 400 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 (winner Jimmie 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 now is inside the Chase cut 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 a 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 last week at Dover (Del.), Stewart was fourth at Pocono. Newman finished 36th at Dover after wrecking.
“It’s definitely progress,” said Stewart of his organization’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 problem early
Kasey Kahne’s Chevy developed a vibration on the first lap.
“We have no idea yet” what happened, said Kahne, who eventually would 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 worse 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
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 Automobile Racing Club of America event 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 of 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 Johnson, Carl Edwards quickly takes the lead for nine laps.
• Johnson takes first lead on Lap 10, an early hint of his dominance.
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 restart that Johnson easily handles.
|3||D. Ernhardt Jr.||Chevy||160||$143,060|
|23||M. Truex Jr.||Toyota||160||$114,935|
|26||R. Stenhse Jr.||Ford||160||$123,796|
Average Speed: 144.202 mph. Time of Race: 2 hours, 46 minutes, 26 seconds. Margin of Victory: 1.208 seconds. Caution Flags: Six for 19 laps. Lead Changes: 12 among four drivers. Lap Leaders: Edwards 1-9; Johnson 10-27; Keselowski 28-29; Johnson 30-57; Keselowski 58-59; Johnson 60-67; Newman 68-70; Johnson 71-100; Newman 101-113; Johnson 114-126; Newman 127-129; Johnson 130-160.
|4||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||439||-82|
|17||Martin Truex Jr.||364||-157|
|20||R. Stenhouse Jr.||361||-160|
NOTES: Line at Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff; : * Drivers who would qualify for Chase wild-card spots.