A lot went on at Pocono on Friday as the Sprint Cup cars took to the track for both of their only practice sessions. With NASCAR allowing for different gear ratios that would allow for shifting again at the uniquely shaped race track everyone would expect that to be a hot topic, but it wasn’t the only hot topic.
[media-credit id=18 align=”alignright” width=”240″][/media-credit]First, it was not surprising that the fastest car in happy hour was Denny Hamlin followed by Brian Vickers, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.
One hot topic that came up was the “secret fining” of Ryan Newman for reportedly hitting Juan Pablo Montoya in the NASCAR trailer during a meeting. There are denials from NASCAR and of course this leads to credibility issues when they’re not transparent. I’ll leave this to others to work on. I was not the person that was apparently lied to when NASCAR spokesperson’s were asked about fines for incidents the weekend of Darlington.
The day started out with a brief statement by Richard Childress regarding his altercation with Kyle Busch in Kansas and the subsequent heavy fine levied by NASCAR. Childress only made a statement and allowed for no questions. I hurried off to the media center because Kyle Busch was in there and frankly he was getting grilled.
Kyle was asked if he had a “respect issue” in the garage and if it has an effect on him. In part he said, “ It makes your day a little bit easier. Makes your job a little bit easier. I’ve been able to have good conversations and talk to people outside the race car or at driver intros or stuff like that. Whether it’s the case that they’re not being true to my face — I don’t know, I can’t read that. I’m not in people’s minds. If you’re mad at me, you’ll have to tell me.” I thought that was a bit interesting.
When asked if he felt he was wearing the “black hat” he responded, “I’m not sure that there’s really any hats to be worn here. The black hat deal…the villain type thing, I’m not sure that I really did a whole lot to bring that back upon myself. I feel like I’ve acted in the utmost respect to every case that’s come up my way and has been thrown in front of me. I’ve tried to do it with dignity and class and I feel like that comes from people wearing white hats… not black.”
So Busch feels it was a total misunderstanding and mentioned that he gave Childress’ driver a “congratulatory tap”. He went on to say, “There was no malicious intent to be involved in hurting or damaging a RCR (Richard Childress Racing) vehicle.”
I was able to ask a few drivers about fuel mileage and whether it was as difficult as managing your tires. The answers differed somewhat and look for a further story on that topic soon on www.speedwaymedia.com
What I really found interesting was how satisfied Dale Earnhardt Jr. is with just about everything. When he was in his press conference he was very relaxed and was even more so during the practice sessions where he was doing pretty well. I was impressed with his candor regarding being a car owner and what happened when Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselwoski had a run in at Charlotte when Keselwoski drove for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports. Earnhardt said, “When Denny and Brad were being idiots at Charlotte that one race and banging into each other’s fenders and stuff it really upset me. I was in another car and I went up there and ran into Denny.” The good thing about that entire thing was that he had a very big smile on his face.
The weather forecast has changed a bit so hopefully we’ll get qualifying and racing in tomorrow and Sunday