It was a combination of good luck and bad weather that allowed Jeff Gordon to win his first race of the season. Teammate Jimmie Johnson got loose on a restart and knocked Matt Kenseth into the wall. Kenseth then bounced off the wall and took out Denny Hamlin and that’s the opening Gordon needed to take the lead. And for Gordon it couldn’t have come at a better time. Rain started falling and with 98 of the scheduled 160 laps completed, officials called the race and Gordon was awarded the win.

Gordon’s 86th career victory puts him in playoff contention. He stands 13th in points, but with the victory he now has a chance for one of the two wild card spots.

Kasey Kahne came in second with Martin Truex, Junior, Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart completing the Top Five.

A broken transmission forced points leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr. off the track and he was 18 laps back when the race was called. His lead over Matt Kenseth is down to five points and only six points up on Greg Biffle.

But tragedy after the race. 10 fans were struck by lightning – two of them critically injured. One later died. The others were taken for hospital treatment. The track had posted warnings after the race on its Twitter page encouraging fans to seek shelter.

Coming up next week, the second of the season’s two road course races at Watkins Glen.