NASCAR Race Review: Pocono

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Pocono Raceway is the site of the fourteenth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The 2.5 mile track in the Pocono mountains hosts the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target. Pocono Raceway is a “tricky triangle” with three different turns and three straightaways, each a different length.

After Coors Light pole qualifying on Friday, 18 Kyle Busch had the fastest lap of 169.485. 33 Clint Bowyer starts with him on the front row. Festivities got underway with ominous clouds in the background. And, indeed, prior to the Green Flag, the cars were led down pit road because it was raining. In fact, it was pouring! After a delay of  about one hour and forty-five minutes, the rain stopped and the track was dried. Officials found a pot hole where pit road exits onto the track. It took another twenty minutes to patch that. Because of the rain, there will be a competition caution at the end of lap fifteen. If there is a caution before lap 15, or if anyone decides to pit before lap 15, they may not get fuel. The race will be 200 laps for 500 miles. 38 Travis Kvapil pits with flat tires before getting onto the track. No one changed anything they weren’t supposed to, so no one will go t the rear.

So, here we go! 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. slips and everyone avoids hitting him. 18 leads from the pole. 11 Denny Hamlin gets by 33 for second. 9 Kasey Kahne gets by 14 Tony Stewart for fourth. 11 and 18 battle for the lead. 11 takes the lead. 24 Jeff Gordon gets by 88 for sixth. 12 Brad Keselowski is making his Pocono debut in this race. He raced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last year, and they don’t come to Pocono. 9 makes his way into second. 18 drops down to fourth. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets by 88. 31 Jeff Burton gets around 88, but 88 fights back and they trade places on the track for awhile before 31 gets by for good. 2 Kurt Busch gets by 88 and then gets into the wall.

The competition caution comes out on lap 16. And they all pit on lap 17. 18 comes out of the pits first from his first spot on pit road. 11 was right behind 18. 18 chooses the inside and pulls up in front of 11. 29 Kevin Harvick pushes 31 and they both drive by 14. 42 drives inside 17 Matt Kenseth. 5 Mark Martin, 1 Jamie McMurray and 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. are three wide. 31 gets by 88. 77 and 47 Marcos Ambrose get by 1. 9 gets by 14. 31 gets by 16 Greg Biffle for seventh. 33 gets by 11 for second.

33 catches leader 18, they race for the lead and 33 takes the lead. 17 gets sideways. 29 gets by 42. 42 and 48 Jimmie Johnson battle for seventh, with 48 finally getting by. 00 David Reutimann and 2 make their pit stops to start Green Flag Pitting. 48 has a long pit with lug nuts falling off. 17 is too fast. 33 is back in the lead after it all. 48 gets by 43 A. J. Allmendinger. 48 gets by 42. 00 gets into the wall.

And there is more Green Flag Pitting. 42 is caught speeding. 12 missed a lug nut and gets Black Flagged to come back in. 17 fights leader 33 to stay on the lead lap. 33 finally puts 17 a lap down. 48 gets by 24 for sixth. 31 gets by 24 for seventh. 1 fights to stay on the lead lap, but 33 gets by.

The second caution comes out for debris in the Tunnel Turn. 1 Jamie McMurray is the Lucky Dog and gets back on the lead lap. They all come to the pits on lap 98. 18 chooses the inside and they go Green on lap 100. 11, 18 and 33 battle for the lead! 29 makes it four wide and takes the lead. 31 gets by 33. 11 and 29 battle for the lead. 11 takes the lead. 18 gets by 29 for second. 31 and 29 battle, but 29 keeps the spot. 48 gets by 33 when 33 gets into the wall. 88 gets by 24 for tenth. 29 gets back by 18 for second. 29 gets into the wall.

There is another round of Green Flag Pitting. 42 and 24 battle. 31 gets by 9. 48 gets by 18 for second. 5 Mark Martin and 99 Carl Edwards get by 42. 20 Joey Logano gets by 33 for eighth. 47 gets by 42. They go to commercial while 11 is trying to put 2 a lap down! (That’s like football going to commercial when the quarterback throws the ball and coming back to see if the receiver caught it!)

The third caution comes out during the commercial (!) for debris. 2 Kurt Busch gets his lap back. 42 narrowly misses his jack man getting out of the pits. 11 comes out of the pits first and chooses the inside. 31 doesn’t get going. The fourth caution comes out when the wave around cars get into each other. 19 Elliott Sadler gets into 83 Casey Mears and sends him into the grass. 00 spins. Many cars pit for fuel. 42 “might could make it” on fuel. (Larry McReynalds)

18 takes the lead, but gets high and 11 takes it back. The fifth caution comes out when 1 gets into the wall. 83 Casey Mears gets the free pass back onto the lead lap. 6 David Ragan slid up into him. (Looked like it may have been a pay back.) 18 comes out of the pits first, but many cars stay on the track. 2 is leading and chooses the outside. 77 takes the lead. 42 and 2 battle for second with 42 getting by. They battle again, but 2 can’t get by. 14 gets by 2 for third.

The sixth caution is for debris. 31 and 00 got together, 00 cuts a tire and the tire comes off. 77 chooses the outside and they go Green with 22 laps to go. 39 Ryan Newman gets into the back of 42 and pushes him ahead. 2, 18 and 39 are three wide. 11 gets by 42. A wad of cars are racing each other for position. 42 and 18 battle with 18 finally getting by. 42 crosses over, but can’t make the pass. 26 David Stremme gets into the wall. (A lot of cars are hitting the wall coming out of turn three.) 11 gets by 14 for second. 20 gets by 42. 29 gets by 2. 77 slips a little and 11 takes the lead. 14 gets by 77 for second. 77 and 14 trade spots, but 14 finally keeps second. 18 bounces in front of 77 for third. 29 and 31 get by 42. 18 gets into the wall. 14 gets into the wall. 48 and 31 battle, with 48 getting by. 20 and 77 battle, but 77 keeps the spot. 29 and 20 battle.

The seventh caution comes out before the leader 11 takes the White Flag. 20 and 29 were racing for position with 20 on top. 20 comes down the track to block and 29 sends 20 spinning. He doesn’t hit anything. This will be the sixth Green, White, Checker Finish in 2010. 18 gets by 14 for second. The eighth caution comes out during the Final lap. 43 blocks 9, pushing him into the grass, where he looses control, comes up the track into 5 and 16 and flies into the fence. Many more were collected. 39 bounces off the wall and crosses the Finish Line all smashed.

11 Denny Hamlin wins the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 under caution. This is his fourth Pocono win, his fourth of the year and his twelfth career win. Denny hits the wall doing donuts! Joey has words with Kevin after the race. The race went five laps over the scheduled amount. Kyle Busch finished second, Stewart was third, Harvick fourth and Burton fifth. Harvick leads the points over Busch by nineteen points. This race marks the second half of the regular season. They are racing to be in the chase for the last ten races.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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