Monday, June 12, 2017

The Pocono-Texas Double Whammy

The shocker that has been the 2017 motorsports season just got more bizarre - and more amazing - with early June's double whammy at Texas Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

For the 99th time in their history Wood Brothers Racing won - for the first time since the 2011 Daytona 500 and for the first time at Pocono since Neil Bonnett fought off a last-lap challenge from Buddy Baker and Cale Yarborough.

Blaney's win brought back memories of both the 1980 race and also the Wood Brothers' first Pocono win, at the 1975 Purolator 500.

The day before the Busch/Xfinity Series squared off at Pocono and the old NASCAR vinegar there resurfaced when Elliott Sadler swerved Brad Keselowski out of the lead, Kyle Larson seized the lead himself, then Keselowski stormed back to the last-lap pass.  

On Friday Night the Trucks squared off at Texas in the WinStar 400k and a huge crash by Timothy Peters - driving Matthew Miller's #99 after Tom DeLoach had to shut down the Red Horse #17 - flew viciously across the quad-oval grass amid a huge battle for the win that caused controversy after Christopher Bell (driving Kyle Busch's quasi-throwback Toyota #4 - the numerical script honoring Morgan-McClure Motorsports)  was declared winner over Chase Briscoe (driving Brad Keselowski's #29 Ford) based on scoring loops and the timing of the race-ending yellow.

At Pocono Jimmie Johnson's crash came with brake failure, not unlike the cause of the crash that injured Aric Almirola.  Combined with the Texas Indycar race the issue of the speeds of these cars becomes pertinent to motorsports; noted repeatedly at Pocono was the trap speed of 208 and higher achieved - it ought to cause concern whether racing really needs 200 MPH speed, which is threatening to neutralize the effectiveness of safety equipment, something such speeds have done before.

Speeds for Indycars at Texas have been an issue before and may be becoming one again with so many crashes this time around.   The racing itself remains awesome, supremely competitive, exactly what Indycars and NASCAR should be.

The show-stealer of the Rainguard Indy 600k at Texas was Tristian Vautier, out of an Indycar since 2015, signed to drive Dale Coyne's #18 and whipping into the lead almost right away

NASCAR and Indycar crashes in the weekend

One of the stories entering the weekend was Darrell Wallace Jr's Winston Cup debut, driving Richard Petty's #43, a driver change from Regan Smith after Smith showed good form at Dover.   The change came with the shuttering of Roush Racing's Xfinity #6, the Roush organization aligned into Petty's team via supply of their racecars and engines.    After an eye-opening qualifying effort, back-to-back pit penalties in the first thirty laps killed Wallace's day; with nothing to race for all he could do was pass whoever he could, and he actually made up a lap on race leader Brad Keselowski.   

With rumor now circulating of a merger of Petty's #43 with another team to form a multi-car team again, one hopes Almirola, Wallace, and Regan Smith can make Petty's organization great again the way Ryan Blaney has made arch-rival the Wood Brothers #21 great again.

While Wallace showed accountability in his post-race presser, Danica Patrick - who ran surprisingly well - continues melting into Ryan Leaf level of petulant immaturity when a fan was turned away from her on pit road and fans booed; she whined in response "I'm a f***ing person" - except she's not, she's a fraud.

There was one other item that appears to have gone overlooked - the Firestone sign prominently displayed on the Tunnel Turn scoreboard, signage that would be displayed for Indycar's 500 in August - that it is being displayed during one of NASCAR's weekends seems odd.


JW said...

If you're going to someone a fraud, you should get the full story and not just accept the word of some anonymous poster on social media (though sadly that seems to be what most sports "journalists" do these days). All this happened because some guy jumped the security barrier on pit road after Danica walked by and track security stopped him as they rightly should. The barriers are there for a reason. This prompted people on the other side to boo her & that set her off. Granted not the smartest thing she could have done but Ryan Leaf? AFAIK the worst thing on Danica's police record is a speeding ticket.

BTW there is a nice interview with Michael Nesmith (I assume those are the Monkees you're a fan of) about his recent memoir "Infinite Tuesday" at

Monkeesfan said...

That's not what happened from what I have inquired. She was (and is) a prick.