Race: Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 presented by Target
Date: Sunday June 6th, 2010
Track: Pocono Raceway
Time: 1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
Seems like Jimmie Johnson no longer has a throne to rest his weary bones on anymore. Coming off another poor performance, Johnson is hoping to make this weekend at Pocono a little better. The problem is that Johnson is Johnson’s problem. He has caused his own wrecks and issues, and rarely this year has any issue with him been at the hands of another driver, unless that driver is teammate Jeff Gordon.
Pocono is going to prove to be a place where Jimmie needs to pick himself up by his boot strings and get things together, but I think that he is going to have a lot of competition out there. At this point in the season, we are seeing a little bit of wear and tear on the drivers and their teams. There’s been a lot of racing with little to no breaks for these guys. Coming off the longest race of the season last weekend at the Coca-Cola 600, we are headed to Pocono, which generally stands to be another test of endurance.
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This 2.5 mile tri-oval has varying degrees of banking in all the turns and the straights. Turn 1 comes in at 14 degrees, turn 2 at 8 degrees, turn 3 at 6 degrees, and the straights at 2 degrees. The frontstretch is an impressive 3740 feet with the backstretch coming in at 3055 feet. This track is long and tiring and wears the cars out. You’d be surprised how many wrecks and equipment failures you will see this weekend. In fact, Pocono is wear Jeff Gordon had one of the worst wrecks of his career after losing his brakes and slamming into the wall.
What’s most important here isn’t the same as the other superspeedways. There’s really no drafting and no huge groups that build up to cause big wrecks. The issues here reside in maintaining good equipment. Good tires and good brake systems are key.
Looking at the history of this track, I am going with Denny Hamlin this weekend. He has a great record here and for some reason is just very comfortable with this track. Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon should also run well here, but my money is on Hamlin. He never fails to drive hard and maintain a good position and finish here. Another notable is Kurt Busch who has had an astonishing few weeks of good luck and good driving. Look for him to maintain that consistency and pull out another strong finish this weekend.
Here are your current top 12 in the points after the Coca-Cola 600:1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Jeff Burton
9. Greg Biffle
10. Mark Martin
11. Carl Edwards
12. Ryan Newman
Truex fell out of the top 12 after the 600 last weekend. Earnhardt Jr. also is having his fair share of struggles. He really needs a good finish and some solid runs because he’s running solidly in the middle to back of the field these weeks. Tony Stewart is also someone who is surprising in how dominating his was last year and now really proving nothing. Pocono is an interesting turning point in the season because of the long stretch of racing. We will see who can truly dominate and maintain a strong team come this point in the year. My bets are on Hamlin and Kurt and Kyle Busch.