2008 Pocono 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
This weekend’s race proved once again that domination in these new cars is a shared privilege this year. We’ve seen guys like Jr. dominate tracks like Daytona. Kyle Busch has been on fire throughout the season on all tracks. Carl Edwards has three wins. Now, Kasey Kahne adds to his win at Dover with a victory at Pocono.
Kasey Kahne was nothing short of impressive yesterday. He came back from a pit stop mistake with three loose lugs causing him to restart 38th. He battled back to the front and maintained over a second lead over Brian Vickers in the closing laps of the race. All day long, it was clear that Kahne had an awesome car, but mistakes and different strategies on pit road were the name of the game.
Pit strategies are what caused several top-notch guys to fall a lap or more down and also to just slip back in the field. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were both caught up in caution/pit sequences that caused them to lose valuable track position. Stewart ended up a lap down and Gordon faded in the field as the day went on, a far cry from what anyone would expect.
As for Kyle Busch, well let’s just say that his ego caught up with him this weekend. He tried a little too hard to push his luck and ended up getting into it with Jaime McMurray early on in the race. He took his car to the garage after only 46 laps, but came back out only to spin again late in the race. A 43rd place finish is not what he wanted, but it is probably what he deserved after the stunt he pulled. He can only go so far before getting himself into trouble, which he hopefully learned this weekend.
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There were a total of 10 cautions, several for minor spin outs and debris on the track. Like I said before, pit strategy is what won this race. Jimmie Johnson had some strategy that just didn’t quite work out, but came home with a respectable “working man’s 6th” according to the #48 Lowe’s driver. He was grateful for being up in the top ten as he saw his competitors struggling to stay on the lead lap.
There was little about this race that could’ve been predicted only because the cautions fell at such strange times, causing teams to decide on four tires versus two tires or fuel only stops. It was a crew chiefs nightmare, but more than likely Kahne’s crews’ dream since they had the winning combination.
Your top ten from Pocono are:
1. Kasey Kahne
2. Brian Vickers
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Jeff Burton
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Kurt Busch
9. Carl Edwards
10. Mark Martin
The Gibbs boys actually had a rough weekend with the exception of Denny Hamlin.
He fought Brian Vickers for that second spot for several laps but just couldn’t pull it off. It probably wouldn’t have mattered only because Kahne was checking out from the rest of the field in the closing laps. There were several changes in the points because of all of these strategies.
Your top twelve in the points standings are:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Burton
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Carl Edwards
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Jimmie Johnson
7. Greg Biffle
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Kasey Kahne
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Tony Stewart
Denny Hamlin gained 4 spots while Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle both dropped 2. Stewart dropped a spot to 12th and needs to get back in the groove this next race coming up to not lose his spot in the chase. Kyle Busch’s lead has shrunk to a mere 21 points over 2nd place Jeff Burton.
This weekend, we’re headed to Michigan. Another potential Roush win but also a good Kahne track. Stay tuned for my preview later in the week!