[media-credit id=62 align=”alignright” width=”227″][/media-credit]On a day where one Jacques Debris reigned supreme, Jeff Gordon was able to win the 5 Hour Energy 500 at the Pocono Raceway. It was Gordon’s 84th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, which places him in a tie on the all time wins list with Hall Fame inductee, Bobby Allison, and 2012 class nominee, Darrell Waltrip. It was the second win of the 2011 season for Gordon which just about guarantees him a wild card spot in the chase.
Denny Hamlin once again looked as though he was going to make the Pocono Raceway his personal playground early on in the race. That all came to an end after the 11 team suffered a flat tire coming off of pit road. Denny was able to nurse the car back to the pits without doing too much damage to his race car. His day was a different story however. Denny was never able to recover from the flat as he then lost his brakes and finished the day in the 19th position. The day wasn’t a total lose though, Denny now moves into the 12th spot in the point standings, which currently qualifies him for the elusive wild card birth.
For the second straight week, both of the Penske entries were solid. Kurt Busch started on the pole for the second consecutive week and ran strong in his Pennzoil Dodge. Kurt finished in the second position after running up front and leading laps throughout the day. His teammate however, wasn’t as lucky. Brad Keselowski’s day started out well. For a moment, he had his blue deuce just outside of the top ten. The team then had to make an extra pit stop for a vibration thought to be caused by a loose wheel. That was not the case. The problems wound up being much more severe for last weeks winner as he was forced to limp the car around for the remainder of the race and finish in the 23rd position. It may not sound like a good day, but the team is making improvements every week. Look for both Penske machines to be weekly contenders in the coming weeks.
After how dominant Juan Pablo Montoya has been at Indianapolis, it was only a matter of time before he got his arms around the Pocono Raceway. Montoya ran most of the race in the top 5 and at one point had a lead that wasn’t even worth Denny Hamlin chasing down. The Target team made some interesting calls by taking two tires on numerous pit stops which left a lot of people scratching their heads. When the black flag with white squares flew, Montoya was in the seventh position. It’s only a matter of time before Juan picks up a win on an oval.
Two drivers that you rarely see run well at Pocono did just that on Sunday. Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is just the run these drivers needed as they further their case as championship contenders. By running good at a “weak track”, they and their team prove that they are “in it to win it”. Look for this to be the case from not only them, but all of our title contenders this season.
Speaking of Harvick, he and Kyle Busch come of their probation next weekend in Michigan. But in the beginning of the race, they sure didn’t race like it. Harvick was seen running Busch down to the water on the front stretch and beating on his bumper. Harvick said after the race, “He’s got one comin'”. “It says a lot about his character” said Busch when asked about Harvick. I know all you fans, including myself, can not wait to see what transpires between the two in the coming weeks.
With Pocono now in the books, the eyes of the NASCAR world look towards the Irish Hills of Michigan. Will we see the fuel mileage battle that is so common at MIS and lately in NASCAR? Will the Harvick and Busch fued resume? All these questions and more will be answered next Sunday.
Next Race- Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400
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