Cup Teams Take On The Tricky Triangle


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For the second time in less than two months, the Cup teams will once again take on the Tricky Triangle in the Poconos. Yes it’s true; Jimmie Johnson will once again start on the pole (just as he did in June) and much of the talk I’ve heard has lamented that fact. Many are hoping he won’t dominate as he did in June and that the racing will be good. (Uh, in case you’re wondering what that means, well it’s pretty obvious to this fan, many don’t want Jimmie Johnson to win.)


I have to admit, if this race is anywhere near similar to the last one, it may be at least the slightest bit boring, well, at least from this fan’s view. Of course I realize racing on the Tricky Triangle is hardly ever boring but I do have to say there are times the drama has been lacking at this unique 2 ½ mile track. After the way the #48 dominated the race in June, I also hope this is one that keeps us all on the edge of our seats right down the checkered flag.


Looking at the top seven starting spots in particular, it is my opinion this could be a very interesting race. You have to look all the way back to the 28th starting spot before you see a separation of more than one second in the lap times. I fully understand that is a lot of separation on the track, but it also means there are a lot of fast cars running this race. Even more interesting is the fact that only a half second separates the top twelve from each other (at least comparing qualifying speeds.)


Another thing this fan finds interesting is that there are some very well known drivers starting pretty far back in the field. In fact, starting with Clint Bowyer in 16th, there are nine drivers that are often spoken of as possible winners week in and week out. Aside from Bowyer, there are names like Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Add to the list Matt Kenseth, Dale Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and  Mark Martin and you will see the potential that exists for some hard charging driving if any of these want to be in the hunt at all for the win.


Statistically speaking, (well… that is if you put any stock in statistics these days), they don’t really have much of a chance at ending up in Victory Lane. Many that have won recently at Pocono have started inside the top ten. If that doesn’t shout that they have their work cut out for themselves, I don’t know what does.


Since there are several very hungry  drivers starting in the top twelve as well, it would probably be a good idea to mention a few of them. In fact, it is awfully hard not to mention Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick starting 13th and 14th.  The way Jeff Burton’s racing luck has been going, I’m not so sure he has that great of a chance. Now Kevin Harvick… well… that is a little bit of a different story. Of all I’ve just mentioned, he is one of the most likely to work his way to the front, especially when it comes down to crunch time. From this fan’s view, I’m not expecting it but I am saying it is a high possibility.


There are some very strong cars and drivers starting in the top seven and two of them ran first and second last week at Indy. Yeah, I do expect Ryan Newman to be in there duking it out along with Kurt and Kyle Bush and Carl Edwards. Ryan still has a lot to prove and the other three just want to win.


Greg Biffle finished second to the #48 back in June and I would be surprised at all to see him working his way into the top spots before the day is over. Starting in the row right in front of him is Joey Logano and he has shown he can run well at the Pocono Raceway. All of these I’ve mentioned so far will make it tough for those that need a good top ten finish to actually work their way into those spots.


Of all the racers that need a good finish two that stand out in this fan’s mind would be Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. I know they can both make a run for the win, but they definitely do not have an easy task ahead of them. Since Saturday’s practice was rained out, it is hard to say how they will do but only one point separates the two for the tenth spot in the Chase.


From my view, I expect this to be a very good race and it could very well have a surprise ending. It could very well turn into a fuel mileage race and, if nothing else, strategy is going to play a very important part in who ends up in Victory Lane. Well… that is if Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus decide to cut the rest of the field some slack…


See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© August 4, 2013 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, and

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