Tuesday, June 14, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Jeff Gordon Wins Pocono

Another rainy Pocono race has come and gone. Don't worry if you missed it, there's another one scheduled in just six weeks. Somehow, during three days of rain, the tri-cornered track managed to get in an ARCA race and the Cup race and qualifying.


Jeff Gordon is back! With his second win this year, Gordon looks to be making a run towards a possible fifth title. He appears to be a threat at any stop on the schedule now that he and new crew chief Alan Gustafson are gelling.


HMS seems to be returning to the top of the food chain as they had three cars in the top-7 for
the second race in a row. Juan Montoya led 38 laps on the way to a 7th place finish. Matt Kenseth (8) had the lone Ford of the top 16 cars. Kurt and Kyle Busch finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Kurt also won his second consecutive pole.


There were only four cautions, all for debris, during the 200 lap event. With rain looming late in the race, there were a couple of interesting strategies, though. Montoya's crew went with just two tires on his last two pit stops in order to stay up front.... in case the rains came. Landon Cassill stayed out and led four laps late, as he prayed for rain.


NASCAR made a slight change to the allowable rear gear ratios which led to the return of actual gear shifting during the race. Unfortunately, this also led to some engine and transmission failures. Tony Stewart lost third gear, and 'thanked' NASCAR for making him shift "600 times".


What is Kevin Harvick thinking? At the drop of the green he was on a mission to try and annoy Kyle Busch. Does Harvick really think that NASCAR won't notice any future rough driving on his part, probation or not? Busch is too focused on each race to fall for Harvick's self perceived 'mind tricks'. Champions focus on winning races, not pay backs. Dale Earnhardt or Darrell Waltrip never worried about "paying someone back" in a future race. They either did it then, or let it go. Prediction: Harvick will never win a championship as long as he has Busch living in his head, rent free.


  1. Kurt on a tear - pole in a back up car and running with the leaders all day. Guess Tom German did suck! LOL

    So you still think Jr isn't deserving of some credit Gene? Come now! Plus he sauntered into his media time in yet another hoel in the wall bar tshirt...and explained how to get one every month in the mail! No one else does that....

    If the beginning of the race with 18/29 games are any indication of whats to come when they are off probation this week, sign me up. At least it was entertaining. I also think Kyle wasnt completely innocent - he may have been pushed down first but I think he drove Happy up those corners too. Either way it was vun to watch.

    Finally, I am pretty sick of hearing about Smoke heating up in the summer. So far he and the rest of SHR look to be in some hot water.

  2. Kristen... okay, okay, Jr surprised me on Sunday by staying top-10 all day, without a wave around or lucky dog. Good for him! I had him and Kenseth as my dark horse picks for Pocono. He still has to lead some laps during the races to be a legit threat to win. Not every driver (Harvick) can lead 9 laps and win 3 races...LOL

    I wonder who had the guts to tell Tony that NASCAR didn't make him shift?

  3. Gene, I think it's the other way around. Kevin is living rent-free in Kyle's dome. Kevin just wanted to make his presence felt to Kyle. While Kyle typically runs well at Pocono, Kevin has had 3 straight top-5 finishes there after not even having a top 10 since his rookie season.

  4. And the Toyotas in general do tend to run better at Pocono--you see more of them in the top 5 and 10 than at other tracks.

  5. Gene, I wonder how much of that intimadation thing is Harvick's idea or if RC is laying out the strategy against Kyle. It seemed good old Jeff Burton was fooling around with Kyle a little too. Boyer and Menard pretty much stayed clear of it all... I do believe they're trying to shake Kyle's tree a little though but it hasn't seemed to effect him yet. It just runs off of him...

    Thanks Gene!

  6. Jon... I think Kyle, like Kev, just recently had some good efforts at Pocono. Kyle's last two finishes there are 2nd and 3rd, but he still only has 4 top-10s in 13 starts. Other than Hamlin's last two Pocono wins, Toyota hasn't shown much domination at Pocono.

  7. Dwindy... I doubt it's an order from RC. Hap is just showing his bi-polar disorder, while J Burt is trying to stay employed... by any means necessary.

    With Kyle, once the race is over, it's over. Grudges are time and energy wasted by the weak.