[media-credit name=”Ed Coombs” align=”alignright” width=”230″][/media-credit]Saturday at the Pocono Raceway we got off to a very wet start to the day as heavy storms pounded us early Saturday morning. Things cleared up long enough to get Coors Light qualifying completed for the Sprint Cup Series but a persistent fog plagued the ARCA series race and it was called shortly after the halfway mark due to the misty weather and the fact the spotters could not even see turn 1 from the tower!
Sprint Cup qualifying was somewhat surprising to me as Kurt Busch won the pole with Paul Menard rounding out the front row. Jeff Gordon will start third.
Busch, who wrecked his primary car during practice Friday said, “Quite a bit of emotions today, especially after having to burst out the backup car after yesterday’s mishap. To go out there today, if it was raining, we would be starting last. And now, luckily the weather held out and we’re on the pole. An amazing swing of events. An honest thank you to my guys, especially the ones back at the shop preparing the cars. To pull a backup out that’s a pole-winning car, that’s something you really wouldn’t hear about back in the day. It would be all-right, we’re going to have to struggle through the weekend; it’s not the best piece (car). It’s great that we have that quality control in our system.”
Busch also made comments about how the Penske organization has changed since his tirades in Richmond and other tracks over the radio. “We haven’t changed a lot of things since Richmond,” Busch said. “It’s just been some procedures, some processes and maybe just looking at the data a little bit differently. It’s great to come back out and be on the pole again.”
Carl Edwards, who was fastest in happy hour qualified sixth. He said, “It was an okay run but I was just telling Bob and the guys that that is the fastest our car has been through three and four. I knew we got through one and two really well. The timing was a little shaky and we got a little loose. All I could think was, ‘man, this is a screaming lap and don’t overdrive three.’ I drove in there a little bit soft and this thing stuck. It had so much grip and I knew right then that I gave something up. I tried to get into third gear and get on the gas as early as I could. That is a pole winning car right there. I just needed to drive a pole winning three and four. I am excited about the race. It is nice to be disappointed about a sixth place qualifying position. It should be a really good run for us.”
One driver who was real happy was one of my dark horse picks for the weekend Marcos Ambrose. The affable Australian said, ““That was huge pickup for us. You think that one lap won’t make or break your season but Pocono is really tough. We had a tough Kansas and a tough practice yesterday and our team just dug deep. The car was fantastic. I guessed the shift points correctly and here we are. I am really proud of my guys. I have to thank Stanley and DeWalt and everybody for believing in me. Richard Petty too. He is my boss and I have to make him happy.”
Mike Skinner had a vicious wreck off turn 1 in qualifying slamming into the second generation SAFER barrier wall. Skinner was OK after the wreck but the clean up some time and it looked like the weather could close in on qualifying session but instead it impacted the ARCA race.