Pocono and Silly Season half way through "Regular Season"
The teams are set to race at Pocono this weekend, the "Roval" or Road Course/Oval, and while many hate the course, I have always loved it. I was never a fan of road courses, although I have come to enjoy those races more in recent years. I was never a fan of the "Road Course Ringers", the drivers who would jump into the driver's seat to run the road course. Those ringers were often open wheel drivers who excelled on the road courses, who knew how and where to cut corners, when to brake and when to accelerate. In more recent years, however, we have seen less of those ringers. At Pocono drivers get a bit of both worlds. The huge triangular track features three uniquely different corners. The long straight-away can see speeds up to 200 mph, but the banking is only 14 degrees, 9 degrees and 6 degrees in the three corners, so although speeds get up there, the driver needs to slow drastically to make those turns.
Perhaps you are in Pennsylvania and thinking of visiting the track? Well one of the most common complaints fans might have at any track is the lack of bathroom facilities. Not at Pocono. They have "Long John". It is a 1000 service facility encompassing 1,500 feet in length. You might have to walk a bit to find an empty one, but find one you will.
Pocono also boasts being the one and only racing faclity completely powered by the sun. The solar plant produces enough power to completely run everything at the track, and even has enough left over to contribute to the power grid around the track, effectively powering an additional 1,000 homes. The facility is run by the Mattioli family, and has been for years (they are somehow related to my mother's mother, but as she has long passed on, I can't ask her how)
Jeff Gordon has six wins at the track, includng 2011 and 2012. He also has led the most laps. Joey Logano has the most recent win, but Denny Hamlin also has several wins, the most recent being in 2010. The track is one that a driver either loves or hates. There doesn't seem to be any of the "it's an okay track" when talking about Pocono.
Fast forward to Saturday morning (I actually completed this yesterday, but the site logged me out and it ended up in cyberspace). This morning's practice has completed, and teams are making modifications and tweeking things in preparation for the last practice. Kevin Harvick was fastest in practice - and that's a good thing as it is crew chief Rodney Childers' birthday. The best birthday present would be a win!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not happy wit this car, and the team changed the transmission to try to give him a car he could be happier with. It must have worked, as he was sixth fastest in the last practice. Jr. was conducting an interview with Dustin Long earlier and the two took a shortcut through the inspection area, at Dale Jr's suggestion. Unfortunately, Long fell off one of the scales and broke his ankle. He is currently in his hotel room, with his ankle elevated, trying to write much as I do, without that hands on, person to person feel. I can relate. Although my ankle is not broken, my calf has a wicked bruise, and I am also on elevation orders. In any case, Dustin, I hope you heal soon!
Yesterday in the completed article that was lost, I commented on the fact that the media tend to focus on certain drivers. I won't go into as much detail as I did there, but I will say that it is disappointing that while they are talking about one driver (today it was Kevin Harvick) they are showing another driver on-sreen (in this case Jimmie Johnson). Once again, the media focuses on who they want us to see, rather than who we want to see. I know Faye is quite happy to see JJ, but I would love to see more of Martin Truex Jr. His so-far horrible season seems to be making a bit of a turn, but there has been no real coverage of him.
The ARCA race is about to get underway, but I'll jump back to Carl Edwards for just a moment. Carl has been followed relentlessly in recent weeks, given the suppositions about his future. In a recent interview he might have given a hint. He assured the media that he is proud to be a Ford man, a Blue Oval supporter. That leaves only two options, if he wasn't just playing with the media. He will either stay with Roush, or he will move to Penske. Those are the only two teams fielding Fords in NASCAR.
I'll leave it to you for today, and we'll get underway with racing tomorrow. Don't forget to make your bets in the Game Center.
So, who ya got?