Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway was a bit unusual. Known as a track typically with long stretches of green laps, fans witnessed quite the opposite on race day. The first half of the race was plagued with an abnormal amount of cautions. Top contender, Kevin Harvick, ended his race day early when an engine failure led him to a 42nd place finish. Kasey Kahne endured a rough day after spinning out and colliding with the pit wall. His car hit so hard that the race was red flagged in order to make repairs to the wall. Later in the race, Brad Keselowski encountered a scary moment on pit road when he overshot his pit box and hit several of his crew members. Thankfully, no crew members were seriously injured in the accident. The second half of the race, however, saw very few cautions. The final restart happened with around 63 laps to go, which left many teams gambling on fuel strategy. Joey Logano, who led the most laps of the race, failed to conserve enough fuel to make it to the end. With less than three laps until the checkered flag, Logano ran out of fuel allowing Kyle Busch to lead the field. While leading, Kyle Busch then ran out of fuel on the last lap and was not able to cross the finish line. Had Busch been able to win, he likely would have gained enough points to make him eligible for the Chase.
Matt Kenseth was the one who managed to stretch his fuel supply enough to cross the finish line first after Busch ran dry. Sunday’s win was Kenseth’s first victory at Pocono Raceway and second victory this season, locking him into a spot in the Chase.
Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle rounded out the top five. Leaving Pocono Raceway, Kevin Harvick remains the points leader over Joey Logano.
In other NASCAR news this week, the family of Kevin Ward Jr. has filed a wrongful death suit against driver Tony Stewart. This weekend marks one year since Ward Jr. lost his life in an on-track accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York involving Stewart. No criminal charges were filed against Stewart, but the Ward family is now seeking punitive damages.
Looking ahead to this weekend, NASCAR remains up north to visit the second road course this season, Watkins Glen International. Located in New York, Watkins Glen is a 2.45 mile road course with eleven different right and left turns. Qualifying is extremely significant at this track. The pole position has produced more winners than any other starting position, and no race has been won by a driver starting outside the top twenty. Road courses prove to be a true challenge for many drivers, yet select drivers excel at this type of track.
The Fast Five for Watkins Glen includes: Jeff Gordon, who’s had a rough go of it this season, but is undoubtedly one of the best road course racers and is a four-time winner at Watkins Glen; Kurt Busch, who has not yet secured a victory at Watkins Glen, but boasted a third place finish in last year’s race; AJ Allmendinger, who might be an unusual pick for some, but he’s the defending race winner and holds the best average finishing position at this track; Kyle Busch, who continues to have unparalleled momentum since his return and is a two-time winner at Watkins Glen; and Carl Edwards, who posted a top five finish in this race last year and is a top rated driver for this track. In addition to the Fast Five, keep an eye on Tony Stewart. It’s no secret that Stewart has had his share of struggles, but after capturing a top ten last week at Pocono, this weekend’s race at Watkins Glen could be the opportunity for Stewart to turn his season around.
Tune into the race Sunday at 2:00 on NBCSN.