Nascar Racing

Cup Teams Partying in the Poconos


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Pocono is an interesting track. It has three corners instead of four and it has the longest front straight of any track that the NASCAR Sprint cup teams face. All three turns are different and that front straightaway… well… Let’s just say it seems it goes on forever at times.

Another interesting thing about Pocono this weekend is all of the rain they had in the area and at the track and the limited amount of time on the track the Cup teams had. This is the first visit for the Gen 6 car to Pocono and that means most of the teams will face Sunday’s race without many notes in their notebooks. The teams that that took part in the Pocono test session not long ago may have at least the slightest advantage over the others.

There was one other thing this fan noticed in the Saturday practice sessions. The Toyotas seemed to be somewhat MIA in the top ten. This fan just didn’t see them as competitive as they have been in past weeks. Kyle Bush was definitely visible but with the tenth fastest time in the final practice, even he wasn’t that happy with the performance of his Toyota.

Because qualifying was rained out, according to the rules the drivers will line up according to points and that also gives those higher in points the better pit choices. From this fan’s view, that could mean we see some of the drivers drop like rocks through the field when the race begins if they didn’t get a grip on their speed and handling at this tricky triangle during the two practice sessions. I do have to admit it does appear that several of those starting up front according to points also had some of the better practice speeds.

Kurt Bush continues to show up every weekend with a fast car and many think it is just a matter of time until he takes the trip to victory lane. Personally, I agree with them and do think it would be great to see the Furniture Row Chevy and Kurt Bush finish up front. Of the single car teams, they probably have a little better chance to do so than the rest.

All of the teams will face some unknowns Sunday afternoon. Because of the rain and the cloud cover for the two practice sessions, clearing skies and higher air and track temperatures could make for a very interesting first part of the race. Those that guess right will probably pull away from the rest, at least until the first couple of pit stops.

Three of the four Hendrick teams were in the top eight of fastest speeds in the final practice session as well as the two Stewart/Haas teams which also run Hendrick equipment. I expect all of them to make a good showing when it comes down to crunch time. Jimmie Johnson was second to Kurt Bush in the final practice and he just might take the win that he denied himself of in the final laps last weekend.

While we’re talking about Jimmie Johnson’s penalty for jumping the start last weekend, (which did cost him the victory), I’d just like to vent my opinion about the existing rule for starting the race. From my view, I think there should be a change that doesn’t give all of the starting advantage to the leader. Usually the leader gets the jump in any start or restart but now it has become a matter of strategy and often ends up with a judgement call on NASCAR’s part.

I realize the rule isn’t all that vague but it isn’t really a black and white type situation and it leaves too much room for interpretation. From this fan’s view, there are two possible starting places and one is contingent on the leader starting in the “box” or the flagman starting the race “if” the leader doesn’t. I think the part I don’t like all that much is the, “not being able to pass the leader” until the start/finish line. Perhaps better stated, “you can’t beat the leader to the start/finish line.” From this fan’s view (and I know I’m not alone in my thinking) the start should take place at the start/finish line and if the leader can’t keep up then too bad. You still can’t beat him to the line but you sure know where the race starts.

Oh well, enough on that for right now.

From this fan’s view, I think there are two areas that may cause problems for just about anyone with hopes of winning this one; Transmission problems and engine failures. Since there will be a lot of shifting going on all around the track, the weakest link could be the transmission. With the higher speeds and that long front straight, engine failures are always in the back of everyone’s mind.

Oh and there is one other thing… tire failure. One can only hope the right fronts can take the heat… so to speak.

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 8, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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