"To see this race unfold the way it did certainly makes up for a lot of those wudda, cudda, shudda's this year," a beaming Gordon said. "I hate it for the [No.] 48 [Johnson] and those guys for what happened, but to have the first four cars slide up the race track and you go by and win the race [with] the rain and stuff, it's nice to know these things still can go our way."
However, Gordon doesn't see what happened with Johnson as luck.
"We were sixth [on the restart] because we drove up from 27th [starting place]," said the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet. "That's no easy task at Pocono. We had a fast race car. We had good pits stops. [crew chief Alan Gustafson] called a good race. I got a good restart."
Smiling, Gordon said, "Today was the first time I didn't have a good-luck charm in the car. I've had fans send me stuff, my wife and daughter have given me things. That just tells you, work hard, you win as a team."
With five races remaining before the Chase for the Championship launches, Gordon is tied with Ryan Newman for the second wild card. Gordon, 13th in points, and Newman (14th) each has one win. Kasey Kahne, 11th in points and Sunday's runner-up, holds the first wild card with two wins.
Eleven weeks ago Gordon was a spirit-crushing 24th in points. A place in the Chase for Gordon looked as far away as the Canadian Rockies.
"We've been on a nice streak of finishes," the four-time Cup champion said. "Even though they haven't been wins, they've been really solid finishes, top fives, top 10s, that have gotten us further up in the points. When you do that, you do a better job of getting in position for something like what happened today."
With his sixth Pocono victory, Gordon moves one ahead of Bill Elliott for most wins at the track. His previous Pocono win was the June 2011 race. It's also the 86th career Cup win for the four-time Cup champion, third on the all-time list.
Until the end of the race, delayed by heavy rain at the start for about 1 hour, 45 minutes, the estimated crowd of 85,000 was watching another case of "48 fever." Jimmie Johnson led the most laps (44). The five-time Cup titlist had won three of the year's last 10 races.
On the final restart, Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet slid up the track in Turn 1 and collided with Matt Kenseth's Ford. Denny Hamlin, a four-time Pocono winner, was caught up in the crash, allowing Gordon to surge to the front.
Johnson said, "When I was cooling my tires down through the tunnel [Turn 2] coming to the green I noticed that something didn't feel right. I kept trying to clean the tires off and it got a little better, so I just assumed I had trash on my tires, but when I got down into Turn 1 I realized that I had a right-rear flat.
“Unfortunate that we lost the lead there and we got a couple of cars in the process, but not much you can do with a right-rear flat."
Johnson's misfortune turned out to be Gordon's break even though Gordon wouldn't call it lucky.
Contact Bill Fleischman at firstname.lastname@example.org