LONG POND – The week surely did not start well for Roush-Fenway racing, but it sure did finish well.
After missing out on a win at Indy last Sunday, mastermind owner Jack Roush found himself holed up in a Wisconsin hospital when he crashed his plane while landing on Tuesday.
All his team did was rally together for a strong finish as Greg Biffle won the Pennsylvania 500 while teammate Carl Edwards finished third.
Oddly enough, with Roush away, it was a pit decision that sprung Biffle to the victory lane.
With 35 laps to go Kurt Busch was sent spinning into the infield and the slowing cars sent Elliot Sadler head on into the infield berm in a horrific crash that dislodged his engine. The field was Red Flagged for 28 minutes to clean up the mess.
As the field got moving the pit stops began. Sam Hornish Jr. assumed the lead from Jeff Gordon by staying out and Biffle and Edwards took only two tires to vault them to the front of the pack.
After a yellow flag and another red flag due to rain, the race resumed with Biffle in second and taking the lead from Hornish Jr. with 20 laps remaining. With clean air, he pulled away and was never threatened.
"I don't know what happened to it, [the car] simply took off," Biffle said. "The car was phenomenally fast there at the end."
Biffle's day started off badly by scraping the wall on the first lap of the race, at the end of the day he won his first race in 64 starts leaving him with an emotion-filled conversation with his owner, Jack Roush.
"In victory lane he told me that he had never met somebody that had the will to win like I do," Biffle recalled. "That kind of put goose bumps on my arms. I'm glad he thinks of me that way."
Amazingly this is the first win all season for Roush-Fenway racing and just the second win in 55 races despite having Edwards and Biffle sitting 10th and 11th respectively in the Chase standings.
"There are a lot of people working night and day trying to figure out what we're missing," Biffle acknowledged the work of the race team.
Edwards furiously fended off cars that were strong throughout the day allowing only Tony Stewart pass him for second place.
"It's pretty cool to say the least to have a race win for him and two cars in the top three," Edwards said. "He needed that race today, he needed that victory.
Pole-sitter Tony Stewart was satisfied with his day as he took four tires on the last stop. Being the first of the four-tire cars to make it off pit lane was the difference.
"[Getting out of the pits] gave us the opportunity to pass some of the guys that took two tires or no tires at the beginning of the run,"
Hendrick motor sports racers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson dominated the entire race. The four-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson led the 96 of the 200 laps while Gordon's car seemed to be too strong for anyone to catch when the crash and the rain delay forced a decision to change all four tires costing both a shot at victory lane.
"If you know nine guys are going to take two tires, then it is an easy call to take two," "But, when you don't know and the guys around you are going to take four, then you take four," Gordon explained his sixth place and Johnson's 10th place finish.
Denny Hamlin, who seems to own Pocono, ran in the top-5 for most of the race while leading 19 laps. As the race came down to the end, a brilliant pass of Jeff Gordon as he was passing Ryan Newman propelled him to a fifth place finish.
Kevin Harvick's car got better throughout the day. Sitting just outside of the top-10 for the first half of the race, the Sprint Cup point's leader finished a strong fourth and increased his lead to 189 points over Jeff Gordon.