What a weird one: Breaking down a strange day in Pocono

BY Tom Jensen • August 3, 2015

The late, great journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was fond of saying, "It never got weird enough for me."

Evidently the man nicknamed "Dr. Gonzo" wasn't familiar with Pocono Raceway.

Because if he wanted weird, Sunday's Windows 10 400 at the Tumultuous Triangle delivered an overdose of weird that Dr. Thompson or anyone else would have a hard time processing through their cerebral cortex.

Weird as in Kasey Kahne spinning out on Lap 5 -- Lap 5! -- and hitting the inside pit wall, sending half a dozen helmets flying like missiles, yet no one was hurt, despite a chunk of his car going through the concrete wall.

Weird as in Kevin Harvick losing an engine 20 laps into the race. It was just the second engine failure Harvick suffered since joining Stewart-Haas Racing 56 races ago.

Weird as in Brad Keselowski clipping not one but two of his pit crewmembers -- one of whom had the jack land on his helmet -- when he slid through his pit box. And yet, Keselowski recovered to finish second.

Weird as in Trevor Bayne getting knocked out of the race when a piece of a hot exhaust header went through his radiator.

Weird as in Sam Hornish Jr. losing a tire and getting nailed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., only to have Hornish return to competition and himself nail a spinning Kurt Busch.

And weirdest of all, certainly, was the fact that the three drivers running 1-2-3 three laps from the finish all ran out of gas, allowing Matt Kenseth to come from 16 seconds back on the final lap to win his second race of the year. 

And afterwards, Kenseth made it clear that winning never, ever gets old. In 2013, his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth won seven races and finished a reasonably close second to Jimmie Johnson in the championship.

Last year, however, he went winless, which made his spring victory and Bristol and Sunday's triumph at Pocono that much more special.

"You know, I've never been able to explain it after all these years, but no matter what race I've ever won or how I've won it or what position we've been in, there's no feeling in the world like when you come off the corner and know you're going to win a Sprint Cup race," said Kenseth. "There's no other feeling like that.  I wish I could bottle it up or I wish I could explain it more, but it's just one of them things you can't really explain."

Sort of like Sunday's race: just one of them things you can't really explain.

So now, it's off to Watkins Glen, with only five races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular and only five chances for someone to step up, win a race and lock themselves into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

If Sunday's Pocono was any indication, stuff's about to get real, real soon. Stay tuned.

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