Race:Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500
Date: Sunday August 1st, 2010
Track: Pocono Raceway
Time:1 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, Professional NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
Well, Juan Pablo just wasnt meant to win Indy I guess. As he did last year, Juan Pablo dominated the day and was very close to easily winning the race, but under one of the final pit stops, his crew chief made a fatefully bad call. While the rest of the field opted for 2 tires, Juan took 4, causing him to lose valuable track position. At that point, Pablo ended suffering damage after getting together with Jr., ruining both of their days. He was noticeably distraught after the race, but he must move on.
This weekend, we are headed to Pocono yet again for some more big track racing. This 2.5 mile tri-oval is a big one, with 14 degree banking in turn 1, 8 degree banking in turn 2, and 6 degree banking in turn 3. The straights have 2 degree banking with the frontstretch standing at 3740 feet and the backstretch at 3055 feet.
Overall, Pocono is not known as one of the most exciting races, but thats what the critics said about the Brickyard too, and look how great that race was! We will see what kind of action Pocono gives us, but if it sticks with the pattern that the Cup races have given us this year, than its sure not to disappoint.
Pocono is a track where tires, brakes, and track position are very important. If you are able to get out front, you easily pull away from the field. With the lack of cautions that we tend to have here, thats also difficult for the rest of the field that ends up chasing down the leader. Brakes are also an issue, as we saw a few years back when Jeff Gordon had a devastating wreck here after his brakes went out.
Tires also become an issue because of the long runs that we see here. Guys need to make sure that they have fresh rubber because the speeds get so high here that worn tires blow out easily. Between equipment and track position, these guys have their work cut out for them if they do not qualify well.
Heres a peek at your current top 12 after the Brickyard:
Im going to go out on a limb based on this years performance and say that Denny Hamlin is my pick to take the here. I think that Juan Pablo will be strong again as well because of the style of track being pretty flat and fast. Hamlin is going to be the one to beat, though. He always performs well here and is the defending winner. If theres a track where Tony Stewart will do well, he has an opportunity to do it here. Although hes struggled a little when compared to last year, Stewart is still a contender being in the top 12 in the poinrts and needs to continue some strong top 10 runs to remain in the Chase.
I think that this weekend is going to be instrumental in showing who will be left standing when it comes down to the Chase. We see so many other drivers and teams already talking about next year switches and equipment but guys still need to focus on their races this year in order to ensure their spot in the top 12. Stay tuned as these guys battle another super speedway this weekend at Pocono.
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