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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes on the Pocono Raceway for the second time this season and it may or may not be a repeat performance of their last stop there. Martin Truex Jr. won the last one and it was pretty much a Toyota and Ford show for much of it. I will admit there were a few Chevys in the top ten but I’m not so sure they were actually contending for the win back in June. Those three in the top ten were Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott. No matter how it ends up this time, the Chevys are still struggling to keep up with the other two makes and it doesn’t look like that will change much in the days and weeks to come.
I know I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about the plight of the Chevys since they
changed over to the new Camaro in 2018 but I just can’t believe they would choose a car that would be so handicapped in relation to the Fords and Toyotas. Honestly, this fan doesn’t understand how such a thing could happen other than it was the choice of the manufacturer for reasons I don’t want to go into in depth at this moment in time (but could have something to do with selling more Camaros.)
Next season the Fords will move to the Ford Mustang (from this fan’s view, another ploy to sell one of Ford’s most popular models), and it remains to be seen if it will be an equalizing move between Chevys and Fords in the performance area. It is possible the Toyotas could come out ahead in the performance area but they are making their own changes next season, too. From any point of view, next season should prove to be interesting in several ways but I’m not too sure the Chevys are going to recover their previous dominance until they either get a redesigned Camaro or something with better numbers in downforce and other areas of performance.
Well… enough of that for now. Let’s talk a little about Pocono Raceway…
There is a lot of talk surrounding the Pocono Raceway and much of it is hype about the lack of a turn four. They also refer to it as “The Tricky Triangle” and it is that. Look, I don’t have a problem with them advertising their track (which is rather unique) in any way they would like to make it stand out in people’s memories. (After all, that is what it’s all about from a marketing standpoint when you think about it.) I still don’t agree with them about having only three turns. The way I look at Pocono, it has six turns (and I base my opinion on the way we all talk about other race tracks.) At any other track, we say they are running down the back straight, entering turn three and exiting turn four. Of course this is the same way we look at the front straight entering turn one and exiting turn two. Why is it so hard to understand why many of us fans think Pocono Raceway has six turns?
Pocono Raceway is definitely called ‘The Tricky Triangle’ because of the way it is shaped and it does look like one. Ask any of the drivers and they will likely tell you there are at least two things about the track that makes it so. First would be the “Tunnel Turn” and the other would be having to shift because of the long front straight. Both of these have been items that make or break the race for some. Not negotiating the ‘The Tunnel Turn’ along with the bumps during the race and in traffic has cost more than one a victory or even a good finishing position over the years. Missing a shift and the resulting engine damage has resulted in more than a few with the same fate by making a good day go bad in a hurry.
The race on Sunday afternoon will be interesting in several ways. First, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Bush will be starting in the rear because their cars failed post-qualifying inspection. That gave Daniel Suarez, the third fastest qualifier, his first Bush pole and, judging from his performance lately, he could also end up in Victory Lane at the end of the day.
Jimmie Johnson will be making his 600th start and could have a great chance at ending his winless streak. Although the lackluster performance of the Chevys has been evident all season long, the seven time NASCAR champion and his #48 Hendrick team are quite capable of winning at Pocono and it is more than a mere possibility he could end up in Victory Lane at the end of the day. Once again, it isn’t something I expect to happen simply because of the way the Chevys, overall, seem to be at a disadvantage to the Fords and Toyotas. Add to that the fact that both the Fords and Toyotas showed faster speeds in practice and qualifying and it makes a Chevy ending up in Victory Lane an even more remote possibility. Still, that doesn’t mean this Chevy fan wouldn’t like to see it happen and I’ll be watching to see if it does…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 27, 2018 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated