Cup Teams Take It To Pocono

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

There are a lot of drivers that want to win at Pocono this weekend. Some just because they want to win at a track they haven’t won at yet, some because they want to chalk up another victory at the Tricky Triangle and others because they absolutely need a win to qualify for the playoffs. Whatever the reason for wanting to win, those that need it to qualify for the playoffs are running out of time. After this weekend’s race, there are only five races left until the playoffs start with the round of sixteen.

One person that doesn’t have to worry or stress about qualifying is William Byron. He already has four wins and he qualified for the pole for today’s race at Pocono. Many are saying he is a real contender for the championship and he does sit in second place in the driver standings at the moment. He does have the most stage wins so far this season and he has shown up with a fast car almost every weekend.

A quick look at the lineup for today’s race shows all six Toyotas starting in the top eleven spots. There are only three Fords and two Chevys and those two Chevys are teammates Byron and Larson from the Hendrick camp starting first and third. Of those two Hendrick teammates, neither of them has to win because they’re already qualified for the playoffs. It’s those other two Hendrick teams, you know, the teams of Bowman and Elliott that really need to get stage points and both really need a win because they can’t really depend on pointing their way into the playoffs. Unfortunately, neither of them has looked that good since their injuries caused them to miss several races.

The three Fords starting in the top eleven are Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Austin Cindric. Joey has a win but has struggled at times this season but that win keeps him in the playoffs barring some weird intervention or happening. Even though Harvick has no wins yet this season, he has shown a lot of consistency compared to the rest of the Fords this season. It is even possible he could win today’s race and end any speculation of him missing the playoffs. From this fan’s view a Harvick win would be extremely popular since this is his last Pocono race with his looming retirement at the end of this season. With the type of season Cindric has had, he simply needs a win. I just don’t see him making it any other way.

Those pesky Toyotas have once again shown up with great speed and winning on their minds. The most obvious Toyota is the number nineteen of Martin Truex Jr. and he has really been the fastest car in the field on race day lately. After last week’s dominating performance at New Hampshire and his qualifying speed this weekend – he qualified on the front row – one can expect to see him contending for the win, possibly with another dominating performance in today’s race. I’m not saying he will do either of those but I am saying it is a good possibility.

The other Toyotas are hungry for wins and, considering how they have all qualified in the top eleven, in this fan’s opinion any of them could end up in Victory Lane. Christopher Bell, Bubba Wallace, Denny Hamlin and Ty Gibbs have all shown they can win just about any weekend and add to them Tyler Reddick and, well, that’s a real live opportunity for a Toyota to end up the winner today.

Look, I know I’ve spent most of the time talking about the stronger teams but, there are a lot of drivers and teams that are hungry for a win and could do so today. This being the Tricky Triangle and this being a long race, anything could happen and this fan is betting there could be some real surprises today.

I’m not counting out the Fords of Keselowski or Buescher. Both have been looking stronger and stronger each week. Michael McDowell has been consistent and could pull off the victory. Ryan Blaney and Aric Almirola can’t be counted out of the Ford mix either.

And then there are the Chevys of Corey Lajoie, Ross Chastain, Daniel Suarez, A J Allmendinger and the list could go on and on. This is a race that just about anyone could win.

From this fan’s view, the race is going to come down to strategy, staying out of trouble and speed both on the track and in the pits. I’m not saying anyone in particular will win but I am saying there could be a surprise winner or a winner that needs a win in the worst way. This one will live up to the track’s name. It will be “tricky” at the Tricky Triangle. It just remains to see which of them survives to the end…

Hey, this is Russ and that’s my view… See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 23, 2023 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and Pod Cast Norm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated