Monster Energy Cup Teams Return to Pocono from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman

Well, the Monster Energy Cup teams return to Pocono and not a whole lot is different for them. Oh it is still the Tricky Triangle and it is still a challenge for all of the teams simply because of the way it is designed but not much else changes. They still say it only has three turns, I say it has six. They say there is no turn four, I say there is. I know it doesn’t matter at all what I think and no matter how much I talk about the way they count the turns, still nothing much changes.

I do admit the Tricky Triangle lives up to its name because it is just that – Tricky! It is a definite challenge for the teams simply because the turns are all different and it requires the crew chief and the driver to compromise. No matter how much he would like to, the crew chief will never make the driver happy in all three of the turns and the driver will never get the crew chief to give him (or her for that matter) what he or she wants in all three turns. It’s just one of those tracks that a driver will have to make do with what he has been given and the crew chief will have to make sure to keep his driver calm and convinced it is as good as it’s going to get.

By now, I’m sure you all know that everything I just said is just my opinion and definitely not the opinion of the driver and crew chief. I am also sure you know that the driver will never be happy with what he’s got and crew chief will always be trying to convince him he has exactly what he asked for and needs. It will be a challenge for all concerned throughout the afternoon.

There is already a lot going on in the standings and there are still several in the top sixteen without a win. Kyle Bush needs a win almost as badly as Dale Jr. wants one and both of them would pretty much be in the playoffs if they both get a win. Of course, we all know they can’t both win the same race but either one of them could win this one at Pocono.

Of the two, Kyle has had the most opportunities to win a Cup race in the 2017 season and has had every one of them slip away from him, often at, or near the end of the races. This fan has watched in disbelief as every one of them has slipped away from him through many different circumstances. I will say this though, considering the Kyle Bush in past years, he is handling these setbacks relatively well. Look, I know he isn’t perfect and he does react quite humanly at times but he has grown and matured and handles things much better than he used to; it is good to see. If there aren’t four more winners over the next six races, Kyle should be in on points, otherwise he likely won’t make it.

Dale Jr. absolutely needs a win because he just isn’t close to making it in on points. He is another one of those that has looked like he was going to have good finishes or maybe even a win and has watched them slip away for one reason or another. At times, it has almost been humorous to watch. I don’t mean any disrespect and I definitely don’t mean that to sound like it is funny. It is just that he has had the strangest things happen, like being taken out by his team mate, Jimmie Johnson, to missing a shift and blowing his engine not just in the race, but in practice the same weekend. It has definitely been something to see.

Clint Bowyer has kind of had the same racing luck as Jr. Even when he has been running second, he has either run out of laps or has had some of the strangest accidents costing him a possible victory.

Time is also running out for Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray and Chase Elliott. Jamie has been running consistently all season but just hasn’t taken a victory yet. Matt and Chase have had similar seasons as well.

All of these are the ones most often mentioned to be in the playoffs but none of them is a definite. Pocono is a track that could have a totally unexpected winner and that could make all of the difference as the races dwindle down to a precious few. It is also a track that one of the previous winners this season could win and that would take another chance away from those that need to win. The pressure is on those that want to make it in and the tension is beginning to show as their chances become less and less.

Pocono is just the beginning of probably some of the most intense racing of the season. The tracks ahead are of several different types, Watkins Glenn, Michigan and a return to Bristol. Let’s see… a road course, a big, wide, fast 2 miler and a Short Track with high banks and high speed. The next three weeks should prove to be very, very interesting…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© July 29, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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