Pocono In The Rear View Mirror
Top 10 a game of musical chairs?
The same 10 drivers who were in the top 10 in the Nextel Cup standings before Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 were there when the day ended, but their positions shuffled like a deck of cards.
Only leader Jimmie Johnson remained in the same spot he was when the race started. Jeff Gordon moved up a spot to second past Dale Earnhardt Jr. Matt Kenseth, now fourth, flopped positions with Tony Stewart. Elliott Sadler moved up two spots to sixth.
"We just never gave up," said Sadler, who finished 10th after dropping back to 20th with just 60 laps to go. "We had fuel problems and had a tire roll across pit road. We took a top-five car and kind of put us in the back. ...To come back and finish 10th and get all of the points we could is a great day."
Sadler is just 23 points ahead of Kurt Busch and 32 up on Ryan Newman, who also gained two spots Sunday. He's only 84 points ahead of 10th-place Kevin Harvick and 124 ahead of Jeremy Mayfield in 11th.
On the other hand...
With several of the drivers they're chasing for a spot in the top 10 having trouble on Sunday, some of the drivers who're just on the outside of the impending cut in the championship group saw an opportunity to make up ground go by the board.
Dale Jarrett was 12th in the standing when the Pennsylvania 500 began, 137 points out of 10th. He lost two spots to 14th by finishing 24th in the race, but he's now 103 points behind Kevin Harvick in 10th.
"This was one of the places...for us to make up some ground," said Jarrett, who has three career victories at Pocono. "I've said all along we can't have any mistakes and we had a part failure. The transmission didn't work right form the get-go."
Jarrett said that if practice hadn't been rained out Saturday it's possible his team could have found the problem.
"We just have to keep digging and see what we can do," he said.
Biffle completes successful weekend
Greg Biffle flew to Colorado on Saturday and won the Busch Series race at Pikes Peak, then came back to Pennsylvania and finished fourth at Pocono - his best finish in a Nextel Cup event this year.
"We've run up front all season long...we just haven't finished here," Biffle said. "Today we didn't do anything different than we normally do, we just didn't have any missteps in the pits and didn't have to come back."
Kahne offers apology to Busch
Kasey Kahne said he thought Kurt Busch had made contact with Tony Stewart's car to begin a crash on Lap 108 that doomed Stewart to a 35th-place finish and also led to damage on Kahne's Dodge when Stewart bounced off the wall in front of the No. 9 Dodge.
Kahne admitted to hitting Busch's car under caution right after that.
"A few laps before he (Busch) ran into my door pretty good, and then that happened with Tony," Kahne said. "I thought he ran into Tony and our race was over. I definitely need to apologize to Kurt. There was no need for that. I was just frustrated at the time. I need to control myself."
T. Labonte keeps Pocono streak going
Terry Labonte finished sixth on Sunday, his third top-10 finish in four races and his fifth straight top-10 finish at this 2.5-mile track.