Pocono Update: Johnson showing strength in Pennsylvania


Jimmie Johnson has been the class of the field so far in Pennsylvania, leading the bulk of the laps in the Party in the Poconos 400.

Johnson started on the pole after Friday’s Sprint Cup qualifying session on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” was scratched because of persistent rainfall. He briefly lost the point in the first few laps but quickly took it back, passing Carl Edwards on Lap 10. He held onto it through a race that has been run almost entirely under green; the only caution of the day came out on Lap 66 and that was just for debris.

However, following another wave of green flag stops around the Lap 100 mark, Johnson found himself in second position behind Ryan Newman, who pitted early in the round of stops at Lap 91. Brad Keselowski sat in third position, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in fourth and Matt Kenseth in fifth. Kevin Harvick had been in the Top 5 leading up to his stop on Lap 99, but was tagged with a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit road and has now fallen back into mid-pack.

But Newman’s lead turned out to be relatively short-lived as he worked to save fuel and make his alternate pit strategy work. Johnson hunted down the Indiana native and took the point again with 47 laps to go.