The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race for this weekend is definitely a challenge for all the Cup teams and, if things go as usual, it will definitely be a test for the drivers and teams as one of them tries to make the trip to Victory Lane. The Tricky Triangle at Pocono is fast, tough and unique. One thing it isn’t is predictable and that is just one of the things that makes it one of the tougher tracks on the NASCAR Cup circuit. It has three turns, two long straights and one that isn’t quite as long. The drivers will shift at least one to three times every lap and hope their drive trains last the full 400 miles.
The track may be different this week but the front row looks the same as it did last weekend. Kyle Bush won the pole and Martin Truex Jr. joins him there on the front row just as he did last week. Of course we all know that Kyle had some difficulties and lost more than the lead last week but Martin had a decent run for the win even though he finished third.
One of the big questions every week lately is, “When are the Joe Gibbs Racing teams going to get their first win for this season?’ Well, it could be this weekend (much as it could have been last weekend) but at least one of teams that would likely have stopped them last week, Kyle Larson, looks very strong again this weekend. (Well that is before Jimmie Johnson pulled out the win from both Larson and Truex.) There is no denying Kyle Bush has had strong cars lately but has not been able to show that strength when it comes down to the final checkered flag.
Another interesting fact, at least from this fan’s view, is two of the JGR teams are starting this one in the top three and Truex, a JGR associated team, is starting second. That puts three JGR or associated teams in the top three for starters and could mean this really is the week for a JGR trip to Victory Lane. By now I’m sure you all know I don’t put much stock in qualifying other than for possibly getting a good pit stall. When it comes down to the race, especially a 400 mile race on a Tricky Triangle that challenges every driver and team, it usually has very little to do with the way the race actually goes.
I guess now is as good a time as any to ask the question I usually do when it comes to the Tricky Triangle at Pocono. Why is it that at most any other track they visit they number the entries and exits to and from the turns. You know what I mean, don’t you? Yeah, they enter into turn one and exit from turn two. After the straight they enter into turn three and exit from turn four. Why isn’t it like that at the Tricky Triangle at Pocono? It seems to me they should still enter into turn one and exit from turn two, hit the straight and enter into turn three and exit from turn four. At Pocono, then they would enter into turn five and exit from turn six but that’s not the way it is. Seems like it could, or maybe should, be but they choose to just use three turns to describe the track. I get it but I don’t really understand their reasoning (but then again I don’t think they or anyone else cares what I think about it. I just thought I would bring it up just to see if someone wanted to straighten me (or them) out…)
Oh well… back to the matters at hand…
As of the practice and qualifying on Friday, I still have questions about the strength of the Hendrick teams. Taking a look at where they qualified, they really didn’t impress but then again I have to resort back to my thinking on the importance of qualifying – it really only matters for pit selection. Although that is important and can make a difference on how they finish on Sunday afternoon, it really doesn’t say much about how they will perform during the race.
Jimmie Johnson qualified 19th for this one but last week started last and ended up the winner. Kasey Kahne has had moments where he looked like he was going somewhere only to have something happen.
Chase Elliott is due for a win and has also looked like he was going to take his first victory in Cup only to miss out when it counted. Dale Jr. just hasn’t had that zing when it comes to finishing first. He has just had a lot of bad luck and some miscues but overall, he and his team are going to have to step it up if they want to make the playoffs.
The Penske teams also have struggled a bit and Brad in particular has just been in the wrong place at the right time to change his whole day. Yeah, this fan knows he has a couple of wins but lately, he just hasn’t been there for one reason or another.
In this fan’s opinion, it is really good to see Michael McDowell being talked about when it comes to his and his team’s performance this season. I have always liked Michael and it is really good to see him getting some recognition these days.
When it comes to Bubba Wallace, well it is just great to see him get this chance with Richard Petty Motorsports. This chance couldn’t have come at a better time since his Xfinity #6 team is being closed down after this weekend not because of his performance but because they just haven’t been able to gain needed sponsorship to keep going. It is a shame when any team has to close down for lack of funds but it is one of the realities of competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. At the time of this writing, this fan thinks it would be great if he wins the Xfinity race on Saturday and makes a great showing on Sunday. Winning may not be in the mix… yet… but I know I and many others look forward to seeing how he does in his first Cup outing…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 10, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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