Pocono once again proved to be a fuel mileage race and ended with the leaders seeing who could run the slowest, save the most gas and still stay ahead of the other competitors. As it turned out, Tony Stewart managed to stay ahead of Carl Edwards and still had enough fuel to do a fairly decent burnout to celebrate his victory.
Jimmy Johnson pressed the fuel envelope so close that he ran out of gas coming into turn three and finished 7th (which, when you think about it, wasn’t too shabby). He very well could have been running much further back in the pack if things had been just slightly different.
I don’t want to just get caught up in doing a recap of the race this week because everybody already knows what happened. There are, however, some important things to remember and they are:
- Tony Stewart finished first and his team-mate, Ryan Newman, finished fifth.
- The Roush cars ran strong this week, especially Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth.
- Nascar instituted the double-file restart this week and hardly anyone complained.
- Kyle Bush caused quite a ruckus after his guitar smashing stunt in Nashville after the Nationwide race and followed it with a non-stellar (for him) performance in the cup race at Pocono.
- David Reutimann is in the top 12 of the Chase standings.
- Mark Martin fell just outside the top 12 to 13th.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 27th on the day.
Both of the Stewart/Haas drivers had to overcome adversity to finish where they did. Tony crashed his primary car in first practice Saturday and Ryan struggled with poorly running engine in the early part of the race on Sunday. Both of them managed to overcome those setbacks and their finishing spots speak for themselves. For a two car team that was just put together this year with drivers and crew chiefs, that says a lot.
Sure, I know the Haas team has been around a while, but still, look at how quickly things turned around for them with the new owner/driver, Tony Stewart involved. Things appear to be clicking along pretty good.
One can only hope that the last half of the season doesn’t go as the first half usually did for Tony in past years, that could prove to be a disastrous finish to the year. (Personally, I don’t think that’s going to happen.)
I would like to interject something at this point. I’ve heard a lot of people express their opinion of how they thought Tony and the teams would do this year and now many are standing in shock at what they have accomplished,(that would be the Haas teams). I can’t say I expected it, but none of us should be all that surprised. I noticed a difference in Tony when he bought the Eldora Speedway. It just seems he has found a place to exercise his strengths in leadership as well as his driving ability.
The Roush Teams showed a lot of speed at Pocono and that could be bad news for the rest of the teams when they arrive in Michigan this weekend.
I noticed that the double file restart didn’t generate too much confusion or complaints this week. We can all rest assured time will tell as the rest of the season progresses, but it appears it will make things more interesting, especially at some of the tracks soon to be visited.
Even after all of the publicity of the guitar smashing incident in Nashville, Kyle Bush didn’t perform all that well at Pocono, at lest to his normal standards. I’m sure he will want to improve this coming weekend.
David Reutimann moved up two places in the overall standings and is presently in the top twelve. He has continued to show strength and consistency so far this year. This is a great step ahead for Michael Waltrip Racing and it looks to this fan as though they have turned the competitive corner.
Mark Martin just slipped out of the top twelve to thirteenth in the overall standings, but don’t look for him to stay there. I expect him to get solidly back into the top twelve. It is my opinion he is still fighting off some of the effects of some of the bad luck that he had at the first of the year.
Finishing in the 27th spot just shows that there isn’t going to be an immediate turnaround for Dale Earnhardt Jr. It appears it is going to be a work in progress and that all of the blame can’t be laid at Tony Eury Jr’s feet anymore. I expect it will take a few races, but they will hit their stride and then, look out, there could be several wins in store for the team. His biggest problem right now is that he is in 20th spot in the overall standings. They are going to have to turn things around and in a hurry if they are going to make the Chase.
Well, that about covers it up to now. Next weekend is all of the driver’s favorite track, Michigan International Speedway. High banks, high speeds and lots of racing room. I’m lookin’ forward to it…how about you?
See ya next time…
(All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© June 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman