Nascar Racing

Taking on the ‘Tricky Triangle’ at Pocono from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman
After the dominating performance of Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team at Dover last weekend, one has to wonder if he will have a repeat performance this weekend at Pocono. If qualifying says anything at all about his chances the answer would be probably not, but you already know how I feel about qualifying and end of the race results. However, there is a good possibility that one of the Hendrick teams could end up in Victory Lane at the end of the day today. One thing they have all shown over the last weeks is speed.

Qualifying started off with stay-dry in turn one and it definitely affected the speeds of the first third of the qualifiers. NASCAR even had to interrupt qualifying for around 45 minutes to clean the track better in that area because it was having such an effect on the early qualifiers. Even at that, many in the field broke the old track record and, to be honest, before the stay-dry problem, there was a good chance the entire field would break the old record.

Of course, we all know the reason for the increased speeds was the resurfacing of the track since the last time NASCAR visited there. Because of that resurfacing, this could be one of the most unique races at the ‘the Tricky Triangle’ in years (at least from this fan’s view.) The speeds are higher (by almost two seconds a lap), the new surface could have a big affect on tire strategy and the racing groove is narrower which could make passing interesting.

From this fan’s view, the higher speeds could have an effect on engine durability and there might be more engine failures than we’ve seen on a weekly basis. In fact, Pocono has always been a bit hard on engines and, with the higher speeds, this could be one of the determining factors of which driver ends up in Victory Lane at the end of the day. Now, I’m not saying it will be the determining factor… I’m just saying it could.

All of that speculation aside, there are more teams that have a chance at winning than just the Hendrick camp. The Toyota camps all looked strong and the Fords did also. Denny Hamlin usually performs well at Pocono and this could be the day he wins another one. Of course you know I’m not ruling out his teammates Kyle Bush or pole sitter Joey Logano. With the speed shown by the JGR teams and the MWR teams, I’m not ruling out the Toyotas for taking the win at all.

Once again the Fords look strong but only Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose qualified in the top ten. Of those Carl Edwards looked the strongest but because of the track condition, anyone of the Fords from the Roush or RPM camps could pull off the victory this afternoon. They have all been making good speed and that will be important in today’s race.

Okay, I know this will come as no shock to anyone, but almost all of the Chevy teams were showing speed in practice and qualifying and even this fan can’t rule out the possibility of the RCR or Earnhardt/Ganassi teams having a strong performance this afternoon. That is why this fan thinks this could be one of the most unique and interesting races we as fans have witnessed at Pocono, at least in recent times. This is one of those races that almost anyone in the field could win but none of them can afford to make mistakes that cost them track position whether in the pits or on the track. That puts added pressure on the pit crews and the drivers, especially with the new track surface the changes brought about by it.

From this fan’s view, this is anybody’s race and I’m not ready to make the call for the one that will actually win. What I will say, is there are a few that have been running very strong over most of the season but that old nemesis ‘Racing Luck’ js been standing in their way. The most obvious one would be Jeff Gordon and this could be the day he and the #24 team go to Victory Lane and their entire season takes a turn for the better. Heaven knows they’ve had chances to win more than one this season and, if they do win today’s race, it could just one of several by the time the Chase comes around. From my view, I reckon we’ll know more by the end of the day…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 10, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.