Pocono is known for a lot of things and one of them is The Tricky Triangle. When the Cup teams take to the track on Sunday afternoon, there will be many teams looking for success at the strangely shaped Pocono Raceway fondly called The Tricky Triangle. Not everyone is fond of it though and once again it appears the Toyotas have an edge this weekend. In particular, two of those are Kyle Bush and Martin Truex Jr. Of course that is nothing new this season as the JGR teams have somewhat dominated the rest of the field for most of this season.
After his performance last weekend at The Brickyard, it seems that Kyle Bush would be one of the ones to watch for winning this one at Pocono. I’m not saying he will but I am saying he will be one of the ones vying for the trophy when it comes down to those final laps. Even in practice and qualifying he was fast though they were fighting an LIS setup problem on the rear of the car. Whatever that problem was, as of the time I am writing this down, they appear to be confident they have that situation solved and that could be an ominous sign for the rest of the competitors.
Say what you will but Kyle has been fast almost every weekend and this weekend is no exception. Except for that problem with getting the rear end acceptable to the inspectors he looks to be set up for another great performance. It is never good to say anyone is a definite when it comes to racing, especially at Pocono, but I do expect to see him at least in the top five if not out front when it is all said and done. (Well, that is barring the unforeseen circumstances which are always a possibility.)
His biggest problem is his teammates and associated team of Martin Truex Jr. Denny Hamlin is a four time winner at Pocono and Martin Truex Jr. is a recent winner. Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards looked awfully good in the practice and qualifying sessions and any of those four also have a chance at taking the win when it comes down to it, at least as far as the Toyotas are concerned.
It’s not just the other Toyotas that have a chance this weekend though. The Hendrick Chevys have seventeen wins at this track and Jeff Gordon (still filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. this weekend) owns six of those. When it comes to the other Chevys, I just can’t rule out names like Kevin Harvick, retiring Tony Stewart or even some of the drivers from the RCR camp. Paul Menard and Ryan Newman appear to be showing they have something to say about those capable of winning this weekend and that is a good thing. RCR hasn’t been showing a lot of strength so far this season but they do show strong signs of improvement which could result in a possible win for RCR this weekend.
There just isn’t any way to rule out the Fords either. Brad Keselowski is always a threat to win at most tracks and The Tricky Triangle is no different. Only one thing might slow him down a bit this weekend and that is the impact he had at a practice session at The Glen this last week. He plowed straight into the wall with a heavy impact, one he said was his hardest hit ever in his career. He will also be competing at the Iowa track in the Xfinity series so it doesn’t appear to have slowed him down all that much. Like it or not, the Penske Fords just aren’t ones you can rule out no matter whether it is Brad Keselowski or Joey Logano. Either one of them could be there at the finish.
If past history is any judge of how the race will go, this one will likely be a fuel mileage race too. That could put it in the hands of those that are best at stretching out a gallon of fuel to the maximum. Once again, that sounds like a race favoring the driver of the Penske Ford named, Brad Keselowski. It doesn’t mean he is the only one that knows how to conserve fuel but it does suggest he has done a very good job of it in the past. He isn’t alone in being able to win a fuel mileage race and that could mean Kurt Bush or Jimmie Johnson have a good chance also. I only mention a few names here but there are several in the field that can do it on fuel mileage depending on how the cautions fall and whether the gamblers show up near the end.
I just can’t close this out without talking about Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Jeff is in the midst of a steep learning curve and trying to be competitive as he fills in for the recovering Dale Jr. and his #88 team. There have been a lot of changes to the cars go into effect since Jeff retired after Homestead last November and he has only been in a car one weekend this season. That is tough for anyone, even a four time Cup Champion and someone with as many races and wins as he has over his career.
Tony Stewart has had strong performances since his return to the Cup Series and I expect him to have another good race this weekend at Pocono. If he continues on as he has, he will definitely have a chance at another Cup Championship before his retirement at the end of this season. If either he or Jeff wins this weekend, you can bet there will be a lot of happy fans celebrating how one of the “old guys” won when everyone said it wasn’t going to happen.
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 30, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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