by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowSeptember 22, 2011 7:14 pm UTC No Comments
Exclusive Pocono 500 NASCAR race action and Driver photos
On Pit Row photographer Glenn Bure will be at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend capturing all three days Nationwide Series and Chase to the Sprint Cup action on the track and in the garage. we thought we’d give you a little taste of what to expect with some bonus images from the last Pocono weekend. Enjoy and leave Glenn some comments about his work.
Photo credit: Glenn Bure – OnPitRow.com
by Eric McClung, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
Follow @ericmcclung on Twitter for NASCAR, IndyCar, golf and various other fantasy sports picks.August 3, 2009 7:35 pm UTC 1 Comment
Long Pond, PA – Some things (like a scheduled meeting with the president for some drivers) and even some races are worth waiting for. Rain washed out Sunday’s scheduled start at Pocono Raceway for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. But the action on Monday ended its own set of waterworks as winner Denny Hamlin broke into tears in Victory Circle after breaking a 50-race win-less streak.
One part was the frustration of losing numerous races in which he had dominated. But the much larger part was the loss of his grandmother earlier in the week. Indeed Hamlin entered this race weekend with a heavy heart but also a large chip on his shoulder, practically guaranteeing a victory after the team unloaded.
In the post-race press conference Hamlin reflected on losing his grandmother and biggest fan,
“She (was) 91 years old, she had a great run. She had a 30-inch TV that she looked about four inches from. She always had a FedEx No. 11 bear and No. 11 socks.”
In addition to Hamlin’s lose, crew member Patrick Mullen recently lost his mother.
“I was definitely driving aggressive out there trying to do everything I could to get a win for them,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin led on six occasions for a total 91 laps and took home the checkered flag for what was the most exciting Pocono race in recent memory. This marked Hamlin’s fifth win in the NASCAR Cup Series, all with Joe Gibbs Racing. Of those wins, this was the third at Pocono.
On a track that isn’t known for passing, Hamlin regained the lead for good with only nine laps to go. And on a track that isn’t know for excitement, two late wrecks added to the suspense.
Runner-up Juan Pablo Montoya posted his first top-five finish of the season and moved up to the eighth position in points. Montoya brought the same car he had used last week at Indianapolis, a race he probably would have won if not for a speeding violation on pit road.
While Hamlin and Montoya used muscle to get up front, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr. had to gamble on pit road to gain their track position, finishing third and fourth, respectively.
When most of the leaders hit pit road on Lap 66 it was Bowyer, Scott Speed, Hornish and Montoya that stayed out. A series of late cautions allowed Bowyer to lead more laps than he thought was possible, while saving precious fuel.
“We were losing way too much time on pit road every time. We gambled on fuel mileage,” Bowyer said.
Hornish was the only driver to start worse than 25th to finish in the top-15,
“We didn’t have a good car all day. We tried to get some track position (with pit strategy). That was probably a 15th-place car at the end and got us up to fourth.”
Other notable finishes
After crashing in practice and going to his backup car, Tony Stewart started the race from the rear. Following a series of small adjustments early in the race it became clear his team would need to do a lot more to be competitive on this day. At Lap 80, Stewart was running 28th,
“We finally just made a huge, huge change and we got it closer but we never got it right,” Stewart finished 10th and remains the points leader with only five more races before the Chase begins.
Jimmie Johnson remains second in points and salvaged a 13th-place finish, but only after some guesswork on pit road. On Lap 104, Johnson radioed to his crew that he was losing engine power. It took several stops, aided by the late cautions, to tinker with things under the hood. Johnson was down as many as three laps and was running 29th with only 20 laps remaining.
“I assume it was a spark plug issue. That’s the last thing we started changing. (We were) able to get some cautions there at the end. I thought we would get a top-10 but I pounded the wall off (Turn) 2 and lost a couple of spots,” said Johnson.
In all, Pocono delivered in a very big way. Between the dog days of August when many fans are looking ahead to the Chase, the disappointing rain out on Sunday and historically vanilla racing that goes on here; it was refreshing to see several drivers that were desperate for a win gambling and dueling their way to the checkered flag.
Following the race J.D. Gibbs, son of owner Job Gibbs, jokingly said,
“We’re going to lobby for a few extra races at Pocono.”
I don’t know about that happening but at least this event could maybe silence some of the fans calling for only one Pocono race per season. Maybe.
Photo credit: Eric McClung for OnPitRow.com
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowJuly 30, 2009 3:41 pm UTC No Comments
Join Ryan Rantz for this weeks live blog/chat session centered on the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Ryan ofcourse, is the author of the terrific weekly Fantasy Racing Power Rankings posts here at OnPitRow.com. Live, real-time fantasy advice and discussion every Thursday. Click here to chat.