Jeff Gordon beats Kasey Kahne; fan dies when hit by lightning after NASCAR race
In an event marred by the death of a fan hit by lightning afterward, Jeff Gordon beat Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw in NASCAR's Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono.
LONG POND, Pa. — In an event marred by the death of a fan hit by lightning, Jeff Gordon took advantage of an accident sparked by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson and won when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was called because of a downpour preceding the fatal storm.
Pocono Raceway officials said a lightning strike in the parking lot behind the grandstand after the race killed one person and injured nine others.
"You hate to hear something like that," Gordon said. "Certainly our thoughts are with them."
Enumclaw's Kasey Kahne — also a Hendrick driver — finished second in the Pennsylvania 400, which was called because of rain with 98 of the 160 scheduled laps completed.
An estimated 85,000 attended the race.
Monroe County Coroner Bob Allen would only identify the victim as a 41-year-old Pennsylvania man.
The victim was in or near his car in the lot when lightning struck the vehicle, Allen said.
As the storm approached, Pocono officials posted messages on a Twitter page to more than 22,000 followers near the end of the race encouraging fans to "seek shelter as severe lightning and heavy winds are in our area."
The 41-year-old Gordon earned his 86th career victory, winning for the first time since September to thrust himself into wild-card contention in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
Johnson got loose off a restart — he later noted he had a flat right-rear tire — and knocked Matt Kenseth into the wall. Kenseth slid down the track and took out Denny Hamlin. With an unexpected opening, Gordon zoomed to the lead in the No. 24 Chevrolet.
"When I saw the opening to get inside, I was taking it," said Gordon, who also won a rain-shortened race at Pocono in 2007.
Gordon passed Bill Elliott for most career victories at the track with six.
Hendrick driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was forced to the garage on Lap 51 because of a damaged transmission, returned to the track and finished 32nd of 43.
Earnhardt leads second-place Kenseth by five points in the standings. Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was 15th in the race and is third in the standings, six points off the lead. Kahne moved up two spots to 11th place.
• Scott Dixon took the lead for good by passing Will Power in pit row on the 57th lap of the Honda Indy 200 and held on to earn his fourth IndyCar Series title in the last six years at Mid-Ohio in Lexington.
Dixon previously won on the winding road course in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Runner-up Power leads the standings with 379 points, five more than Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay, whose car gradually lost power over the second half of the race, finished 24th of 25.