Kyle Busch grabbed the pole, the first stage and then his first win at the Cup return to Pocono. He led a race high 74 laps and beat Harvick to the line by over 6 seconds. That is a fast car. But NASCAR found a loose lug nut so look for a fine for the crew chief. The 6 and 17 were also missing lug nuts, so fines all around!
The race started out interesting as Matt Kenseth spun in the early laps creating a big wreck that collected a lot of drivers. Somehow, Kenseth kept his car relatively clean and went on to finish ninth and actually led 9 laps.
A little later Jimmie Johnson, who seems to really like blocking when he is slower, got a nudge from Kasey Kahne that put Johnson into the wall. Johnson finished 35th and Kahne finished 11th. That’s two good weeks in a row for the 5 team.
Time is running out for Joey Logano as Brad Keselowski looks to be getting better and Logano seems to be struggling. Every time a new driver wins, it gets worse and worse for drivers like Logano who need a win to make the playoffs.
And in case you hadn’t noticed, Danica has three straight top 15 finishes. A good run at Watkins Glen could make that four in a row. Her average finish there is 20th, so it is possible she could start turning her bad luck into some good racing luck.
Brad Keselowski signed his deal with Penske sealing up one more Silly Season ride and Target announced it will leave the 42 Ganassi Racing car of Kyle Larson. Larson is a rising star and gets a lot of airtime, but NASCAR is losing a large sponsor for….soccer? And a bad MLS soccer team at that. But soccer has the eyes of youth and young parents and that is more important to Target right now. Well, to everyone for that matter. NASCAR continues to decline in attendance and viewership and that same old NASCAR song and dance is getting tired. What does thins mean for Larson? Time will tell but you know the Ganassi machine is in full sponsor mode to fill that spot for a hot driver. So that speculation about Larson replacing Danica over at SHR suddenly got more fuel.
There are just five races to go before the playoffs and you can be sure drivers like Logano, McMurray, Bowyer, Elliott and Kenseth are all chomping at the bit. No one wants to go into this on the merits of points only. The playoffs are where the extra playoff points come in and drivers who are good at nabbing stage wins will continue to do that in the playoffs. Drivers making it in on points can’t rely on the chance that a playoff competitor gets a DNF. This will be major league go time to make the cut off.
Here’s to Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the next new winner.