Monday, June 03, 2013

Off To Pocono

The Winston Cup cars head north from Dover to Pocono, and do so with a season that is turning more bizarre. The Mason-Dixon 400 turned out to be the strangest finish in awhile after Jimmie Johnson was blackflagged for jumping the restart and Tony Stewart got the win after passing Juan Montoya - that Montoya was anywhere near the lead at all by itself is bizarre given the collapse of his Winston Cup career.

The win for Stewart was a shocker because of the reality his team isn't very good now; that he tried to bite a reporter's head off at Dover for asking about rumors of personnel changes in his team comes across as petulant and lacking credibility - something is going on for the rumors to be circulating at all. 

Something is also going on with Toyota.   Once again the Camry fleet has the opportunity to wrest control of the series from Chevrolet and the Toyotas continue blowing it.   Toyota teams need to start questioning whether the company over-centralized the engine program because the issue of engine failures is disturbingly frequent across the fleet.   

Martin Truex's engine failure illustrates this, though his run also showed the lack of killer instinct that has permeated his entire career.

Denny Hamlin meanwhile is on a pole binge of late, though he sounded pessimistic for Pocono because the place was repaved recently and "it's a whole new track" now - "We're not the best anymore at that track," he said.    That he ran as well as he did at Dover so soon after coming back was certainly encouraging.

Then there is the Penske Racing saga.   Brad Keselowski's postrace problems at Dover continue a trend where a fundamental shift in power within the organization appears to have occurred.   Keselowski now looks like yesterday's news and Joey Logano appears to be the #1 there.  

The larger issue of Ford is also a story, as the Ford fleet looks much weaker than usual now.  Within the Roush organization has come the story that Matt Kenseth's departure has left a leadership void, and it looks to be getting worse.

They all will resume the season at Pocono, and while one shouldn't hold much optimism for the Generation Six racecar, the season has had enough nutty stuff happen that a track that has seen a good share of surprises may produce another.  

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