On Sunday afternoon, the NASCAR Sprint Cup seris was in Long Pond, Pennsylvania for the Pocono 400. Here is what we learned:
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. a serious threat for the title…
Earnhardt started eighth and ran in the top 10 for most of the race. Through strategy and ill timed debris on Brad Keselowski’s grill Earnhardt kept Hendrick Motorsports win streak this season and at Pocono to four races.
Earnhardt this season after his win at the Daytona 500 has run as consistent as anyone in the series. With multiple runner-up finishes and top 10 finishes Earnhardt has been proving he would be a contender in the fall.
Still his win on Sunday solidified his Chase berth but also the doubts and questions if Daytona was going to be Earnhardt’s only win. On Sunday he answered that question in dramatic fashion.
Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch…
Last season talk of a rivalry began with these two drivers after multiple run ins last season saw Kahne end up with the short end of the stick at Talladega, Daytona and Darlington. The rumblings began again when Kyle Busch and Kahne had contact as the laps were winding down. Kahne took two hard hits and would collect his second DNF of the season. Busch went on to finish 12th.
After the race Kahne was quick to show his displeasure with the younger Busch. “I had just passed Kyle and I caught (Ryan) Newman (and) I was passing him off Turn 3," Kahne said on the race radio broadcast. "We were side-by-side so Kyle was able to get a good draft down the straightaway. We got to Turn 1 and I was on the outside and then he knew if he didn't clear me there that I would pass him back because I just had. So he just floored it and didn't care there was someone out there and ran me right in the wall."
Kahne is now 21st in the standings with no wins in 2014.
Back to Back…
It has been a rough start to the season for Martin Truex, Jr. From wrecks to mechanical woes, Truex’s fresh start to 2014 seemed to have gone stale quickly. In the last two weeks though we have seen the consistency and the types of runs we expected not only from Truex but from his Furniture Row team.
He finished sixth at Dover and ninth at Pocono on Sunday. The day was a challenge from trying to gain track position and also a brush with the wall that changed the handling of the car. Truex though made his way into the top 10 with an impressive charge on a late restart.
“Overall it was a tough day,” stated Truex who moved up one position to 24th in the driver point standings. “But all-in-all we’re gaining on it. Finishing with a top-10 after a tough weekend is a good sign for our Furniture Row Racing team. We learned a lot this weekend and hopefully it will help us in the future. We still need to get that victory to make the Chase. And the progress we’ve made lately gives us more optimism to nail down that win.”
The Sprint Cup series heads to Michigan International Speedway on Sunday afternoon. MIS is a track where Earnhardt has had his most recent success. Can Hendrick Motorsports make it five wins in a row? Which team will knock off HMS? Who will be next to get their first win of the season? Tune in next Sunday at 12ET on TNT.