Pocono… It’s called the Tricky Triangle. It’s big, it’s different and it’s a challenge for all the MENCS teams. It’s shaped like a triangle, has the longest front straight and each turn is different. They say it only has three turns; (well, at least that’s what they say.) That statement in itself brings up the old argument of, “is it only three turns or is it six?”
In this fan’s view, the only place that relates to that argument is the Indianapolis Speedway. It has four straights and four turns which could possibly count as eight turns; or maybe Pocono and Indianapolis are the only ones that count it correctly and we look at all the rest of the ovals incorrectly. Others suggest that Pocono is much like a road course except the turns are all to the left.
So, you may be asking, what does all of this have to do with the race this weekend at Pocono? Well… nothing really but is often one of the topics of conversation that comes up when the MENCS teams visit. Other than that, it has nothing to do with the racing at all and all of the drivers have to face the same issues and somewhere amongst the three turns and the three straights, they will have to compromise to get the overall best result in consistent lap times. Well, that is if they want to have a chance at winning.
Just a casual observation of the practice and qualifying results once again shows the Fords and Toyotas with a definite advantage over the Chevys. The Stewart/Haas Fords, in particular, have shown speed when they unload off the haulers and Kevin Harvick is once again one to watch for taking the trophy for the Pocono 400. Sure, I know Ryan Blaney is sitting on the pole and he also won at Pocono last year but, of the two I still think the advantage goes to Harvick. That doesn’t mean I am right, it just means that’s what I think.
Kyle Bush is another one to watch for taking the victory Sunday afternoon if for no other reason than he has the second most wins so far this season. He, along with fellow Toyota driver, Martin Truex Jr., are likely to be challenging for the win along with Harvick and maybe a couple of others. Denny Hamlin would be one of those “others” and this fan expects he will at least be a challenger though maybe not a winner.
This would normally be the point where I begin my mention of the Hendrick teams and how poorly they have performed over most of the season. It would also be the point where I make it a point to mention they are improving – and they are – but not today. I’m not saying I won’t mention it a little later but first, I would like to bring up the Chip Ganassi teams of Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray.
Of the Chevys, they have shown the most consistent performance over the course of the first part of this 2018 season. Of the two, Larson has shown the most consistency when it comes to speed and handling but this weekend, Jamie McMurray has shown both at Pocono along with his teammate. Between the two of them, it brings hope to Chevy fans that this could be the weekend a Chevy actually sits in Victory Lane at the end of the day. Now if you’re a Chevy fan, don’t get too excited because this is pure speculation on the part of this NASCAR fan. Unfortunately, when I look at the faster performers so far this weekend, the Fords still look to be ahead of the rest and not just one or two of them.
The Richard Childress Chevys also look to be improving along with the Hendrick teams and it could be a sign for the not-too-distant future that the Chevys are becoming more competitive and may actually win a race soon. I don’t know that it will happen this weekend but they are looking better, even though I think it will be a little while longer before it actually happens.
When it comes down to it, Pocono can be won by anyone in the field but from this fan’s view, it comes down to about five. Of course, that would include Kevin Harvick, Kyle Bush and Martin Truex Jr. Along with them I would add Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson. Oops, that adds up to six. Oh well, I think I’ll leave it at that…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 2, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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