Nascar Racing

Pocono Could Make It or Break It for Someone


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There is one thing that is definite for the race Sunday afternoon at Pocono… Someone will win the Pocono 400. Just which one that will be is unknown at the time of this writing but someone will definitely either win their first Cup race of the 2014 season or add to their list of races won this year. Now, that might sound like I’m stating the obvious but it’s true someone is going to win Sunday afternoon and it could be someone that’s already won this year or someone that hasn’t.

Kevin Harvick has once again shown up to the track with a very fast race car. It may be too soon to call him as the winner but he does need to be mentioned as at least one of the ones to most likely end up in Victory Lane by the end of the race on Sunday afternoon. And while we’re at it, he’s probably been one of the ones that’s shown up almost every week with a chance to win. Most of his problems have been in the pits and, often this year, he’s been in position to win a race even though he’s only won two so far.

I’m trying to be objective about this but, as I have mentioned before in earlier articles, Hendrick horsepower has been tough to beat this year. When you consider all the winners on the year so far, Hendrick horsepower has been under the hood a lot of the time. Sure, I know we’ve only gotten to the halfway point in the season but, I do have to admit there’s been more talk about Hendrick horsepower than there has about any other power plant under the hoods of the Cup cars. Usually, at least from this fan’s view as I observe things like this, this kind of dominance only lasts for a short while in a season and I do expect the Toyotas and the Fords to begin catching up soon. (And I bet they hope so, too.)

Denny Hamlin hopes to be the one to make a statement for the Toyota teams on Sunday afternoon and he did win the pole. In this fan’s opinion even though he did win the pole, that doesn’t mean he’s going to win and even he complained this weekend that they are lacking speed. Whether or not that means they’re down in horsepower or they just haven’t got the balance on the cars right yet remains to be seen. Two things are obvious about it, he is starting on the pole and he does have a chance at ending up in Victory Lane not only because of where he’s starting but also because of the fact that he and his FedEx #11 Toyota have been the ones to beat at Pocono before.

No matter how you look at it, Jimmie Johnson is still a threat to win the Pocono and a threat to win his third race in a row for the 2014 season. Even though there are times that it appears they are struggling either in practice or qualifying, usually they end up solving their problems before race day and end up at or near the front. For this one, Jimmie didn’t qualify well but he put the blame totally on his own shoulders and said he just blew the lap, in particular in turn two.

Dale Jr. is another Hendrick powered Chevy that ran really strong during the practice sessions and in particular during the final one. His crew chief, Steve Letarte, has had success at the Pocono track in the past and it could be that Dale Jr. will win his second race of the 2014 season. I’m sure would that make his crew chief and him very happy, not to mention all of Jr. Nation.

From this fan’s view, some honorable mentions for ending up in victory Lane would be Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. We all know that Tony is hungry for a victory and quite ready to turn the corner on his recuperation from his accident in his sprint car last year. Kurt Busch is also looking to turn things around for his team even though he has a win this year. His brother Kyle is just looking to finish a day without too many problems that have ended in poor finishes. When it comes to Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, well… it seems they qualify well week in and week out but they haven’t always run that well at least not until the end of a race. From this fan’s view, this could be the week for either of them also.

Even though Matt Kenseth took over the points lead from Jeff Gordon last week, it remains to be seen whether or not he will perform well at the Pocono track. From my view it could go either way. I’m not saying he will and I’m not saying he won’t, but I am saying if anyone would surprise me by winning Sunday afternoon it would be Matt Kenseth.

Well, so far it looks like I’ve had very little trouble at all mentioning possible winners that already have a win or two under their belts this year even though I may have missed one or two. I can think of two right up front that I should mention because it does appear that either Clint Bowyer or Brian Vickers could end up in Victory Lane for Michael Waltrip Racing. Of the two, this fan thinks it’s more likely that it will be Brian Vickers than Clint Boyer but I wouldn’t be that surprised at either one of them winning.

Pocono is a tough track and in particular it is tough on equipment. Since it appears that many will be shifting several times each lap there is always a chance that the transmissions could give trouble or that they could miss a shift and damage their power plants. The speeds are higher than they’ve ever been at Pocono and just about everyone broke the old track record this weekend. That could be a bad thing for some and not so bad thing for others

That’s just one of several reasons I chose the title I did for this article because I really believe that some are going to “make it” to the end while others “break it” before they get there. Oh, and by the way, with all of this extra speed going on, do you think it’s possible there could be tire problems once again this weekend…?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 8 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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