TV: ESPN 1:00pm EST (Sunday)
*Tires, racing passion and the trade deadline*
By know, most people (correctly) see this problem as solely that of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Anyone (ahem, Rusty Wallace) who thinks the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has one iota of responsibility for what happened last Sunday is ignorant to how sports (and likely reality) work(s). The track surface at IMS is abrasive. This is common knowledge. The onus is placed on equipment suppliers and teams and adapt to this known characteristic. NASCAR teams are placed in the unfortunate position of being held hostage by suppliers who monopolize the items which they supply. Since Goodyear is the only show in town, everyone is at the mercy of the schlock they bring to the track. When they shit the bed, they shit the bed. IMS, the teams and NASCAR have nothing to do with it.
*What to know:
Avoir le casque voyagera: Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, David Reutimann, David Ragan and Greg Biffle, are all competing in both the Sprint Cup event in PA and the Nationwide race in Montreal. All of these guys (with the exception of Reutimann) have a better than average shot at making the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Keep an eye on the performance of these guys on Sunday, as the hectic travel schedule could toss a wrench into their plans for Cup triumph. All these guys are pros and are used to competing in different events on the same weekend. We know. But the contrasts of Pocono Raceway and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve are vast. Add to that the whole international travel ordeal, and the real possibility that the Nationwide race will be staged in the rain, and suddenly the idea of two stockcar races on the same weekend seems less than stellar.
Pocono is pretty boring: Pocono Raceway gets two Cup dates/season. They are spaced apart by about six weeks and neither event is in the Chase. The track configuration in not terribly conducive to close racing and 500 contested miles of racing is at least 100 too many. Pocono Raceway is a family owned and operated facility (something of a dying breed) and would likely by forced to close its doors if they lost their Cup dates. They wont loose their dates as the Mattioli Family has been fiercely loyal to the France family and vice-versa. This means, love it or hate it, Pocono Raceway will be on the schedule (two dates, 500 miles apiece) for the foreseeable future. If they could just figure out a way to make the races not boring...
*Who to watch:
Denny Hamlin: The favorite FedEx driver to all will start Sunday's race from the 14th position. He showed decent speed during qualifying in that regard, but we can't help to think he was running a quasi-race setup. His average finishing position at PR is 2.8. That's pretty impressive. Add two wins from the pole and a lowest finish of sixth and you have the favorite to win the race. (Vegas has him 7/1 to win).
Kasey Kahne: He started from the pole and won at this track six weeks ago. As defending race winner, he will start seventh and try to notch his third 'w' of the year. He has three career top-10s at PR and should be the best bet Dodge has at winning this weekend.
*For those heading to the track: Pertinent tailgating information is here. Enjoy the scenery of the one of the sleaziest parts of the country. Try to avid any and all heart shaped jacuzzis. The official Ridebuyer drink of the race is Yuengling Lager, brewed in nearby Pottsville, Pa.
1 KYLE BUSCH
2 DALE EARNHARDT, JR
3 JEFF BURTON
4 JIMMIE JOHNSON
5 CARL EDWARDS
6 JEFF GORDON
7 GREG BIFFLE
8 DENNY HAMLIN
9 KASEY KAHNE
10 TONY STEWART
11 MATT KENSETH
12 CLINT BOWYER
Next race: Centurion Boats at The Glen (Watkins Glen International). Road racing, again? Wow, that's like twice in a year. Sweet.