LONG POND, Pa. – The NASCAR National Series will be “breaking up” this weekend as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup and Gander Outdoor Series takes to the Tricky Triangle of Pocono Raceway. Meanwhile, the Xfinity Series teams head to the land of corn at Iowa Speedway.
Sticky Stuff going down on Triangle
Pocono Raceway is challenging enough with its shape, compared to other tracks, and different degrees of banking in each one its three turns. But, as the Cup Series returns to Pocono the track will be getting a special treatment when PJ1 Traction Compound is laid down in the turns.
The “juice” will be laid down in the third lane in Turn 1, second groove in Turn 2 and third in Turn 3. This wasn’t the case when they visited in June, so teams will be looking to tackle that and the usual elements of a race.
Kyle Busch has won three of the last four races at Pocono. He is seeking to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and the legendary Tim Richmond by making it three-in-a-row.
Passing is already enough of challenge this season with the new rules package.
“Trying to pass people is the trickiest part because it’s so finicky here after getting your car set-up to run by yourself in practice, but also getting it good for the traffic during the race and being able to out-corner guys out there,’’ Busch said. “Having a lot of horsepower is important here, as well.
“Hoping we can have all of those things go right for us this week.”
Looking to keep his historical momentum going is the No. 11 Toyota driver of Denny Hamlin. He’s locked into the Playoff with two wins and comes to Pocono as the winningest driver in the field with four trips to Victory Lane.
Coming off his second-place finish to Kevin Harvick last weekend at New Hampshire shows Hamlin isn’t taking it easy waiting for the Playoffs to start. His 694 laps led are only second to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson’s 740 at Pocono.
Speaking of Playoffs, after last weekend’s race Johnson is on the outside looking in at 17th place. He trails Clint Bowyer’s 16th-place by 27 markers. Ryan Newman leapt from 17th to 15th with his New Hampshire run. However, he’s just four points ahead of Bowyer.
The points are nice, but the point to guarantee one’s way into the Playoffs can be found in a quote from the late NFL-team owner Al Davis when he said – “Just Win Baby.”
Race info: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN-TV, MRN Radio and Sirius XM Radio.
Xfinity is Children of the Corn
Iowa Speedway is the place for this weekend’s race and it looks like the Big Three will, again, be the talk of the town.
Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick have continued their domination of the series this year with Bell winning last weekend at New Hampshire.
This weekend, he comes to Iowa looking to make it three in-a-row to back up his sweep from last season. On a historical note, Bell and Custer have won five races in the first 19 of the season. They are the first duo to do so in 35 years, tying the mark set by Jack Ingram and Sam Ard.
Race Info: Saturday, 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN-TV, MRN Radio and Sirius XM Radio
Trucks Try to Trick Triangle
The Gander Outdoor Series will have an afternoon race as they take on Pocono under daylight conditions on Saturday. There are three races left, including Pocono, before their Playoffs start.
After this race, they head to the dirt track of Eldora Speedway on Thursday night of Aug. 1 followed by Michigan on August 10.
If they started today, local favorite Stewart Friesen would be in on points. Getting that elusive first victory for Friesen at Pocono would seal the deal.
Race Info: Saturday, 1 p.m ET on FS1-TV, MRN Radio and Sirius XM Radio.