Matts Pocono Recap

The Key Moment – Ricky Rudd seemed to have victory in his sights when an equalized right rear tire handed the win to his teammate Dale Jarrett.


In a Nutshell – A rather processional race that take caused a huge amount of mechanical failures.

Dramatic Moment – It was evident shortly after the final restart that Ricky Rudd had some sort of problem. He lost the lead with six laps to go and tagged the wall on lap 198.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week –

How much worse could Ricky Rudd’s luck get?

How much of the race did you see before you fell asleep?

Think some teams will set their cars up so shifting isn’t necessary in July?

Do they have that track seepage problem under control now?

Did you ever think you’d see Jeff Gordon make such a costly blunder on pit road?

So who is running traction control? What’s going to happen to them if they get caught?


The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune –

With all the mechanical carnage today there are too many nominees to list them all but some of the principal victims were:

Ricky Rudd could have won three of the last four races were it not for bad luck.

Bill Elliott- Elliott looked solidly in position for a top 5 finish and possibly even a win when his engine blew late in the race.

Richard Childress had two of his cars slowed by mechanical failures, and a third involved in a late race altercation that cut down a tire. Robby Gordon had the best finish in a RCR car, 19th.

Matt Kenseth had a solid run going early but fragged a transmission.

Ryan Newman led the race awhile but lost a fuel pump. Kurt Busch got loose early and tagged the wall. Coincidentally enough once those drivers returned to the track many laps down they managed to crash into each other.

Joe Nemechek took the hardest hit of the race on lap 26 and it seemed like it took the emergency crews forever to reach him. Somewhere Tim Richmond was shaking his head.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune –

During the middle stages of the race Jeff Gordon’s car was so out to lunch I think I saw Jared atop his pit box. Gordon also had to survive a wild spin on pit road before Robbie Loomis finally found a setup that worked and Gordon roared back to a 5th place finish.

Casey Atwood was the only driver running a Ray Evernham racing engine to finish the race and came home 11th.

Sterling Marlin also looked like he was fading in the middle of the race, but came on strong towards the end. The two tire stop during the last pit sequence helped him rebound to a fourth place finish.

It’s the Pits –

Both Rudd and Jarrrett’s RYR teams gambled on taking the extra time to replace four tires and lose some track position during the pit sequence that followed the third caution flag. It turned out to be the correct strategy at least in the case of the 88.

On the other hand Jeff Burton and Frankie Stoddard gambled on a gas only stop and restarted the race in the lead. Burton only faded to sixth in the final rundown.

Worth Noting –

Today’s win was the first for Dale Jarrett since New Hampshire last summer.

Dale Earnhardt Junior’s 12th place finish is his first finish inside the top 30 since he won at Talladega.

Fighting to keep his job, Michael Waltrip now has top 10 finishes in four of the last six Cup points races.

Casey Atwood’s 11th place finish was his best finish this season. Atwood has bettered his previous best finish in each of the last three races.

Sterling Marlin’s seventh place result today was his first top 10 since California.

Kevin Harvick hasn’t finished inside the top 20 since Bristol.

Rusty Wallace is still looking for his first top 5 of the season. Jeff Gordon’s winless drought is now up to 22 races.

What’s the Points? –

Sterling Marlin leaves Pocono with the same 136 point lead over second place Jimmie Johnson he had prior to the race. Jeff Gordon remains in third.

Mark Martin’s second place finish vaulted him two positions up to fourth in the standings. Mark’s teammate Jeff Burton also advanced two positions to 9th in the standings. Matt Kenseth was today’s big loser falling three positions to 7th and the fourth horseman out of the Roush stable, Kurt Busch, fell two spots to 10th.

Bill Elliott’s blown engine dropped him two spots and out of the top 10. Elliott is currently 11th in the standings.

Dale Jarrett, currently 12th in the standings, is only 76 points outside the top 10 after today’s win.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Two cans, semi-warm. Pocono has been noted for great finishes lately but this wasn’t one of them.

Next Up – The Winston Cup boys head off to the home-state of the American automobile industry, Michigan.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2002

Photos

  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 1997 Brickyard Winner: Ricky Rudd
  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2013 Brickyard Winner: Ryan Newman
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