Earnhardt escapes Pocono thanks to Mother Nature and divine intervention

The #88 Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., is worked on in the garage after mechanical problems during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on August 5, 2012 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

History nearly repeated itself for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sunday at Pocono Raceway. A week after ascending to the top of the Sprint Cup points lead, Earnhardt nearly fell from the top thanks to mechanical woes.

The last time Earnhardt took the points lead was in October of 2004. His time atop the standings was brief however after a fine for swearing in victory lane docked him 25 points and knocked him out of the lead.  For a while Sunday it appeared his time at the top of the points would be over. But a twist of fate, or a stroke of good fortune depending on the view, late in the race allowed Earnhardt to escape Pocono five markers in the lead, a loss of only seven points.

After a nearly two hour delay for rain The field finally took the green and it wasn’t long before Earnhardt charged to the front from his eighth place starting spot. Earnhardt took the lead on lap 11 and looked to be the class of the field as he soon stretched his lead to 2.3 seconds over second place. It wouldn’t last long however as   Earnhardt would lose the lead during pit stops for the races first caution on lap 19. MORE>>>

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