Long Pond, PA – Winston Cup point leader Bill Elliott roared past Geoff Bodine with only 10 laps to go and then led to the finish line Sunday at the NASCAR Summer 500 at Pocono International Raceway.
Despite handling problems coming off Pocono’s three corners, Elliott was seldom out of the top five all afternoon, passing the eventual runner, Neil Bonnett, for his first lead shortly after the race’s halfway point.
For the final 200 miles, the race narrowed to four competitors – Elliott, Bonnett, Bodine, who finished fourth and Bonnett’s teammate pole sitter Darrell Waltrip who came in third.
Elliott, driving a Ford Thunderbird that he said handled poorly all afternoon, ran into trouble when overshot his pits and was shuffled to sixth on lap 178 behind Harry Gant, who ended the race in fifth place.
Four laps later, Elliott moved into third and on lap 186 caught up to Bonnett and Bodine, who brakes failed with 150 miles left in the race.
As he moved alongside Bonnett in turn one, they bumped and swapped paint. Elliott got past Bonnett, but Waltrip passed both and led until lap 190, when Elliott took the lead and gradually drew away.
The victory was Elliott’s eighth this season and his second at Pocono, where he also won the June 9th Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500.
Elliott was able to add only 10 points to his lead over Waltrip in the point standings. He now has a lead of 111 with 2,486 points to Waltrip’s 2,375.
(Courtesy of Associated Press & Citizen Times)