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NASCAR At Pocono Update: Restart Crash Collects Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, And Denny Hamlin

A major crash with rain looming has changed the complexion of the Pennsylvania 400. It might also be the biggest moment of Jeff Gordon's miserable year.

Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth connected as they battled for the lead entering the first turn, sending both cars across the corner towards the wall. Kenseth's Ford collected teammate Greg Biffle, putting both in the outside wall, while Johnson managed to save his car but lost a tremendous amount of track position.

Kenseth's Ford slid across the track into traffic and was t-boned by Denny Hamlin, destroying the nose of Hamlin's Toyota and knocking the four-time Pocono champ and new dad-to-be out of the race. Kenseth, Biffle, and Johnson each drove away from the melee, while Hamlin's car retired a tow to the garage.

The carnage has cleared the way for Jeff Gordon to potentially get his first win of an awful 2012 season. The five-time Pocono winner holds the top spot with rain fast approaching that could end the race once it hits. Gordon has not won since claiming his 85th win at Atlanta Motor Speedway last September.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.