Sunday’s race at Pocono could hold a few surprises. Tony Stewart will have to start in the back, just like last time, and will have his work cut out for himself if he wants to take home the trophy from the Pennsylvania 500 this weekend.
I don’t want to jump the gun on myself, but barring the unforeseen, Jimmy Johnson is going to be tough to beat this weekend. He has been fast since they unloaded off the truck and appeared to be ready to ride the momentum of last week’s victory at the Brickyard. With Stewart starting in the rear, that will be one less Johnson will have to pass and stay ahead of if all goes as I expect it will.
But wait a minute!!! This is Nascar! If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of being a Nascar fan, the race isn’t over until they throw the checkered flag or call the race because of rain.
I think there are several that could take the victory away from Jimmy Johnson and several of them are his own Hendrick teammates. When it comes right down to it, others are looking pretty stout this weekend and some are looking strong enough to win if things go well for them. I don’t think there’s anyone we can count out completely so let’s take a look at a few of the ones I think have a chance.
Well, as I said, it’s just this fan’s view but this could be the week that the Fords break out of their slump. Or maybe it could be someone out of the Richard Childress garage like either Clint Bowyer or Kevin Harvick. Both of them ran good last week at Indy, especially Kevin Harvick finishing 6th. It could be the “times they are a changin'” for them.
Of course, being totally honest, we can’t rule out the Bush brothers representing the Penske Dodge and Gibbs Camry camps. How about Denny Hamlin, (also from Gibbs) getting back to the way he performed when he swept both races the first year he ran there. It would be awfully hard to rule him out because his luck absolutely has to change, at least from the kind he has had lately.
Since the field is lining up according to points, it adds a little more drama to the mix even though Tony Stewart does have to start in the back because of that tangle with the wall in the first lap of the first practice on Saturday. We have Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon starting on the front row and Kurt Bush and Carl Edwards Starting right behind them. Any way you look at it, that is four strong teams starting in front of all the rest. In fact, the top twelve is the twelve strongest cars in the Chase, at least for the moment and the rest are lining up in order of their points. If you don’t think any one of them could possibly win, I just don’t think you understand the situation.
I am here to tell you, it is going to be a shoot out and it is going to be decided by two things; track position and flawless pit strategy. I don’t want to make too big a deal of the possibilities but it just may not come down to the last lap. It could very well be decided by the one that is first out of the pits on the last pit stop and is the first one to get out in to the clean air.
In reality, this is a race that is going to be a bit of a drawn out affair because Pocono usually comes down to being a race like that. It is definitely one of the ones that can be sort of a sleeper in the middle. Now that I’ve said that, don’t fall asleep on the couch during the middle. If you do, I can guarantee you will miss something important.
I don’t know about the rest of you but I am pretty sure Jimmy Johnson is going to win this one. To add to the Hendrick domination, I think there will be four or five of the Hendrick cars in the top ten. I’m really going to stick my neck out and say Dale Jr is going to finish in the top six this weekend, (which will make the Jr nation extremely happy.)
But when it is all said and done, I know there will be some fans that will come away from this weekend satisfied that Nascar has done everything they possibly could to screw up the race again.
Me, well I’m just gonna watch and listen to the race and enjoy it, even if the guy I want to win doesn’t…
See ya next time …
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© August 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman