Double Header At Pocono

From a NASCAR Fan’s View

Pocono Raceway is well known as the Tricky Triangle and this weekend the Cup teams take it on, not once, but twice. As everyone already knows, it will be on both Saturday and Sunday and making it to the end of both races will be tricky enough.

Sure, I know they did this last year but that was the year of the pandemic. Now, well… I’m not sure what it is but it will be a challenge for them once again. Last season they learned some of what they could and couldn’t do but, this is a new year and a lot of things have changed. Well, you know what I mean. Different people and different levels of desperation about what really needs to happen this weekend… twice. After all, it is a double point weekend and some of them need a little more than double points.

Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick would definitely like a repeat of last year. Since neither of them has a win this season, both either need a win or a really good points weekend. I’m guessing a win would be preferable to just points for both of them.

Speaking of Denny Hamlin, he may not have a win this season but, at one time he had such a lead in points that everyone thought he was going to be the 2021 season Champ even without a win. Of course, that was before Kyle Larson started on his recent run of top two finishes, along with the fact that he has a number of wins in a row, of course there is also the winning of the All Star race. He is now only ten points behind Denny Hamlin for the series championship and has four wins to Denny’s none. If he wins more stages and at least one of the two races this weekend, I believe he will be number one in points and the leader for the series championship and possibly end up as the series champ. Naturally that would be much to the chagrin of Denny Hamlin.

Kevin Harvick has been hanging in there, points-wise, but he is also needing a win to guarantee his place in the playoffs. This weekend could be a turn-around for him also, especially if he wins one of these two races. For both him and Denny, winning is at the forefront of what they need and that is what they will be striving for.

Now that I’ve said all of that, there is definitely a lot of things that could stand in the way of them accomplishing what they need. One thing in particular, (or maybe I should say four things), would be the four Hendrick teams. No one can deny they have been flexing their muscle in recent weeks and not just Kyle Larson even though he is the main one. William Byron, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman have all been regularly running close to the front of the pack. Top fives and top tens have been a regular happening for weeks now.

Unfortunately, the Hendrick teams aren’t the only ones standing in the way of Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. If only that were the case. I’m sure they would have less stress if they only had the four Hendrick drivers to beat. From this fan’s view, there are a number of others they have to outrun in at least one of the two races at Pocono Raceway on Saturday and Sunday afternoons if they want to get what they need to be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.

There are a few young guns and some veteran drivers that want to take as many points away from Pocono as possible. A couple of veterans that would love to have great points days along with a win would be Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. Of course all of the Penske and Penske associated teams are hoping for the same but they also have to first take it to the Hendrick teams and outperform them at the Tricky Triangle. The same goes for the Childers teams, too. Austin Dillon has been running at least fairly consistently and could surprise us all with a win, possibly even two. Wouldn’t that be a shocker!?! (Well maybe not to you but definitely for me.)

After all is said and done this weekend, this fan thinks one of two things could happen. Either the Hendrick teams will dominate once again or it could be a turn around weekend for those drivers and teams that have been struggling. It is possible Kyle Larson could smother everyone again this weekend but, I do expect there to be a lot of hard racing and high emotions along with some possible heated temper moments. It wouldn’t be the first time, and after two days at the same challenging track, it might mean some displays of frustrations and tempers more visibly than usual.

From this fan’s view, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Kyle Larson won at least one of the two races. Also, I didn’t forget the JGR teams of Kyle Bush and Martin Truex Jr. it is possible they have a strong showing this weekend but, I’m not so sure they can outrun the Hendrick Chevys…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 26, 2021 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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