Here are my thoughts on yesterday’s race at the Tricky Triangle.
Starting this week, I’ll write a piece on my opinion of the previous day’s race. These opinions are solely mine and do not reflect the beliefs of SBB Columns.
There’s only one word I can use to describe yesterday’s race…INSANITY!!! In all the years I’ve watched races at Pocono Raceway, I’ve never seen a more nutty race than yesterday’s Windows 10 400.
The first hundred laps of the race had cautions at a rate I would expect to see at Martinsville. This isn’t saying we haven’t had caution heavy races at Pocono, but they’re typically more packed into the second half of the race.
First was Kasey Kahne getting loose and slamming the inside pit road wall on the fourth lap. Thankfully, nobody on the other side was hurt and Kahne did walk away from the car on his own. Pocono is a track where another wall separates the front stretch from pit road, but there was enough of an opening that allowed Kasey’s car to slide down into pit road and hit the wall. I’m not going to say what should be done here, but I expect NASCAR to make changes to pit road at Pocono before we go back next season.
Probably one of the most interesting plot lines during the early part of the race was that the field ended up divided into three separate pit strategies over a 30 lap period. An uncontrolled tire from Brad Keselowski’s car after a collision with his tire carrier on pit road brought out the fifth caution of the race and put everyone back on the same pit strategy. I loved it because it was nuts to follow.
Eventually, the race settled into the typical Pocono green flag run. It was with 38 laps to go when teams rolled the dice and made the pit stops that affected the final five laps of the race. A fuel run at Pocono was between 32 and 34 laps. I’m guessing that the teams were banking on cautions to stretch the mileage. But there was not another caution after the lap 98 restart. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were among the first top pit four laps short of their window. Jeff Gordon was one of the last to pit. He surrendered the lead to make his last stop with 33 laps to go and was good to the finish. He returned to the race in 20th.
With ten laps to go, Joey Logano was maintaining a one second lead over Kyle Busch when cars began to run out of fuel. Logano was the first to sputter on the Long Pond Straightaway with three to go. Kyle Busch shot by him to take the lead. Coming to the white flag, he too hit empty. Teammate Matt Kenseth erased a 20 second deficit to pass Busch in turn 2 to score the victory.
Brad Keselowski over-came the pit road miscue to finish runner-up. Jeff Gordon, who was running 16th with four laps to go, ended up finishing third. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was running 17th with four to go, finished fourth. Greg Biffle rounded out the top five and earned his second top five finish of the season.
Tony Stewart, who has had his worst season of his career statistically, earned his second top ten finish of the season coming home ninth.
If you haven’t watched the race, watch it when NASCAR posts the full race on YouTube next Monday. It was insane!!! The insanity alone puts it in my top ten races of 2015.
I think that’s a good place to wrap this up. Next up for NASCAR is upstate New York for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.