Rick Mears easily won the Pocono 500 today, beating teammate Kevin Cogan by two seconds.
Gordon Johncock, trying to become the second driver to win three 500-mile races in one year, was in second place, three seconds behind Mears, when a broken gear box forced him out with seven of the 200 laps remaining.
Mears said his Gould Charger was "running superbly" and "would do anything I wanted." He was never seriously threatened, leading for 352 miles, including the last 21 laps of the race.
Johncock, who beat Mears by two lengths in the Indianapolis 500 this season, then won the Michigan 500, was close at times but Mears passed him at will.
Johnny Rutherford, a three-time winner at Indianapolis, suffered a broken right hand when his Pennzoil racer hit the first turn wall after 332 miles.
The car was demolished. Rutherford was in second place when, evidently, a rear wheel collapsed when he entered the turn.
Rutherford walked away from the wreck, clutching his right arm. A helicopter took him to a nearby hospital for X-rays and examination.
Mears averaged 145.879 mph in a race slowed 11 times for caution flags.
He won an estimated $66,400 of the $363,000 purse, increasing his career earnings to $1.49 million.
Following Cogan's Norton Spirit, three laps behind the winner, were Bobby Rahal in the Red Roof Special, Geoff Brabham in a Penntax Special, and Tony Bettenhausen in a Provimi Veal Special.
"I let Rutherford and Mario Andretti get by me early in the race and was content to just keep behind them and see what they could do," Mears said.
Eight of the 29 starters finished the race run in clear, cool weather. The caution flags showed for 127.5 miles of the distance.
As a safety measure, the race started with cars lined up two by two rather than the usual three abreast formation.
Mears led at the start, but Mario Andretti, Johncock's STP teammate, and Rutherford took the early lead as the field stretched out.
Mears took the lead every time the field lined up single file after a yellow flag. He led for most of the miles the field ran at racing speeds.
The final yellow flag three laps from the finish allowed Cogan to close up, but he could not pass his teammate.
All other leading contenders left the race early with various troubles. Two-time Pocono winner Al Unser lasted 112 miles before electrical failure forced him out.
Four-time Pocono winner A.J. Foyt went out with suspension problems at 182 miles; Tom Sneva, a one-time winner, went out with ignition trouble after the same distance. Andretti lost all but one gear and retired at 285 miles.
The victory was Mears' third this year in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Title Series. He moved into the lead in the drivers standings with 191 points. Johncock is second with 185.