By admin | June 7, 2009
By Richard Allen
*The Pocono 500 was the first race to employ the double-file restart after each caution. Everything seemed to go pretty well and there did not seem to be very much confusion.
Several cars got to make up almost an entire lap because of the new policy of waving cars on the tail end of the lead lap by the pace car. A couple of drivers even managed to parlay the makeup into a good finish. In particular, Juan Pablo Montoya scored a Top 10 after being a lap down at one point.
This rule is going to get criticized in some circles but there is something to keep in mind. The wave-by cars are not allowed to pit until the green flag comes back out. At Pocono this could help actually make up a lap. At Bristol or Martinsville any cars who choose to do this are going to lose at least two laps when they have to pit under green and the leaders do not. On tracks such as Michigan and other fast speedways they will lose one lap. Only Pocono, Indianapolis and the road courses will truly allow for making up a lap for free.
*Why is it that 500 miles in Pocono seems longer than 600 miles in Charlotte? At one point I felt as though the race had been going on all afternoon and it was not even halfway.
Of course this year’s Charlotte race lasted an eternity because of the rain but under normal circumstances the two 500 milers at Pocono seem to last longer than any other on the circuit.
400 miles would serve this track much better. NASCAR shortened races in Dover and Rockingham from 500 to 400 miles. It would help this track if they would do the same. I am not one who often advocates shortening races. I actually believe some races are too short, like those in New Hampshire and the road courses.
*Tony Stewart may have won the Pocono 500 but he was unable to win The Dream held Saturday night on his Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.
That race was won by Newport, Tennessee’s Jimmy ‘The Newport Nightmare’ Owens.
* What a bummer for A.J. Allmendinger. He ran inside the Top 15 for most of the day only to run out of fuel on the last lap and score a disappointing 30th place finish.
*New crew chief or old crew chief, it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just can’t seem to hit his pit stall.
During a pit stop just after the halfway mark Junior slid through his stall, adding to what is now a long list of unforced errors for car #88.
Shortly after this miscue, Junior tangled with David Stremme which sent the #12 car into the wall. The television crew attributed the trouble to Junior’s frustration over his pit road woes, but it really looked more like a ‘racing deal’ to me.
Additionally, Junior was not the only one to have pit road troubles. Michael Waltrip spun twice on pit road and even Jimmie Johnson slid through his pit and was penalized for pitting at the wrong time.
*Pocono is not a great track for listening to drivers on the scanner. With its long straights, drivers have way too much time to whine and complain, and they do a lot of it.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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