Saturday, July 31, 2010

Starting Position Is The Key To Success At Pocono; Most of the Big Guns Up Front

By Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

The most telling statistic in the history of NASCAR racing at Pocono Raceway is in regards to where the winners have started. In 65 Sprint Cup starts, the eventual winner has come from a top-10 start position 46 times (72%) with the front row producing 23 winners. When looking at possible candidates to win this week, it’s a great idea to begin with looking at the drivers starting up front.

The probable cause for such a drastic percentage comes from the drivers up front being able to drive their own preferred lines in and out of the three differing tricky turns on Pocono’s massive 2.5-mile triangular layout. Granted, the drivers started up front because they qualified well -- meaning they have lots of horsepower to begin with -- but they go a lot faster when they aren’t constantly battling for position like the drivers stuck in packs behind the top-10 drivers have to. They are no longer able to hit their marks because everyone in the back is trying to move up which creates some side by side racing going around the tricky flat turns, ultimately causing them to lose speed.

The drivers in the back also are hampered by the process of having several long green flag runs where the drivers with no traffic and clean air separate themselves from the other quite easily. The furthest back any driver has started to win a race was 29th with Carl Edwards in 2005.

The next thing to check on when looking for this weeks top candidates to win is compare notes from the June Pocono race and last weeks Brickyard 400. While both tracks a vastly different in configuration, the long straightaways and flat sweeping turns mirror each other so much that many of the teams use the same set-ups for each.

When comparing results from the June race to the Brickyard 400, they look almost identical, or at least the names do. Nine of the top-15 finishers from June finished in the top-15 at Indy last week. What’s even more glaring is that two of the best cars from both races, driven by Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya, aren’t even part of the nine drivers even though they both finished within the top-10 in June. Johnson and Montoya had two of the best cars at Indy but had troubles near the end of the race.

Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus are a perfect example of a team putting a premium on qualifying well for Pocono this week after what happened in the June race where they started 25th and finished fifth. Though they finished well, it was an uphill battle all day for them trying to get position as they were continually mired within those packs in the back fighting for position. In Friday’s first practice session while most of the teams spent the first half of the session tinkering with their set-up in race trim, Johnson and Knaus used the entire session exclusively with qualifying trim on. The move paid off as Johnson qualified sixth.

During Saturday’s practice sessions, Johnson shined with the second best times early and was third fastest during happy hour. Most impressive of all was his average lap time over the duration of happy hour and his average on 10 consecutive laps where Johnson was faster than anyone. Should Johnson get out front early on with that clean air, he’s going to be tough to beat.

When mixing in all of Johnson’s past history at Pocono where he’s averaged a finish of 9.5 per race in his 17 starts that includes an amazing 16 top-15 finishes, it’s hard to find a better candidate to win this week.

The driver who may have something to say about that is the four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin. He comes in with a two-race winning streak at Pocono and while he wasn’t all that impressive with individual lap times in Saturday’s practice, he did have great average lap speeds. He'll be looking to tie Bobby Allison and Tim Richmond for a track record of three straight wins. Hamlin also has the luxury of starting third.

The only knock on Hamlin this week is that he and crew chief Mike Forde didn’t bring the same winning chassis from the June race, a car that had never lost going 3-for-3 in starts and wins this year. One would think that a team that hasn’t had a top-five finish in five straight races would bring their best to their best track. The streak of poor runs started at Sonoma when Hamlin and the team chose not to test for road races prior to the event, essentially giving it away.
If Pocono can’t get Hamlin back on track to looking like the driver that won five races in the first 15, it may be a while.

The best combined efforts by team at Pocono and Indy this year has been Richard Childress racing’s stable of drivers. All three finished within the top-10 of both races with Kevin Harvick being one of only two drivers to crack the top-five of both. Jeff Burton has been the best in combined practices -- including fastest in Saturday’s happy hour -- and has a seventh and sixth place finish to show for it. Harvick starts 14th this week while Burton begins within the top-10 in eighth.

Clint Bowyer starts 40th this week after slipping during his qualifying run. He like, like his two teammates, has been just as good at Pocono and Indy this year. Bowyer finished sixth fastest in both practice sessions Saturday. If it weren’t for his poor start position, Bowyer would be rated much higher. He led 59 laps early on in the June race. 

Tony Stewart is sitting on the pole for third time in the last four Pocono races. He won from the pole in the first Pocono race last year to give him his second career win there. He is one of only two drivers to finish in the top-five of both Pocono and Indy this year. This week he’ll be using his winning chassis from the 2009 All-Star race, a monumental first win -- albeit a non-points race -- for his new team. Three weeks later, Stewart would get his new team their first points race win at Pocono.

Two drivers to keep an eye on Sunday are Greg Biffle and Joey Logano. Biffle is using the same car from last week at Indy that led 38 laps and finished third. It was the first real sign this year that Roush Racing had competitive horsepower capable of winning a race. Because of the confidence that Biffle’s car will bring to the team, they very well could help car owner Jack Roush to a speedy recovery with a win. The Roush stable of four cars is winless this season making it the longest a Ford has gone without winning since 1977.

Joey Logano returns to the site where he got more media coverage than his rain shortened win at New Hampshire last year. In June’s race, Logano was running fifth when he flat out got punted by Harvick which caused Logano to go on a rant on television where he unwisely brought Harvick’s wife Delana into the conversation. The finish would have been Logano’s third top-five of the season. Currently, six races since, he’s still searching for that elusive third top-five. The good news for Logano is that it could happen this week. He was second fastest during happy hour and has the fortune of being in the Gibbs family who netted first and second place in the June race.

Read More Here for Notes, Quotes, Odds, & Final Driver Ratings

Pocono Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions: Sunoco Red Cross Penn 500

Micah Roberts Top 10 Driver Ratings
Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500
Pocono Raceway
Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 10:16 am (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds     Practice 1    Qualifying    Practice 3     Practice 4

 1. Jimmie Johnson 5/1           1st               6th             2nd             3rd
Two-time Pocono winner (swept 2004); Finished in top-15 in 16 of 17 career races.
 2. Kevin Harvick 10/1           11th             14th            3rd             7th
Using fourth-place chassis from June race; one of two drivers with top-5s at Indy and Pocono.        
 3. Tony Stewart 10/1             5th               1st            26th            26th
Two-time Pocono winner; won from pole last year. Using winning 2009 All-Star chassis this week.
 4. Denny Hamlin 9/2             2nd               3rd            22nd           14th
Four-time Pocono winner, including June’s race, however, not using the same chassis this week.
 5. Jeff Gordon 8/1                 7th               4th             1st              24th
Four-time Pocono winner with a 10.7 average finish in 35 career starts; 16 top-fives.
 6. Jeff Burton 15/1                20th              8th            4th               1st  
Has collectively been the strongest in the combined practices of both Pocono races and Indy.
 7. Mark Martin 25/1              17th             10th           8th               8th      
Using same chassis that led 10 laps finishing 11th last week at Indy. Six time runner-up at Pocono.
 8. Juan Pablo Montoya 20/1  8th              2nd            19th            10th
Using same chassis that finished eighth in June’s race. Finished runner-up in this 2009 race.
 9. Ryan Newman 40/1          3rd               5th             20th            15th          
Won at Pocono in 2003; Has a 13.4 average finish in 17 career starts, including six top-fives.
10. Greg Biffle 18/1               10th             12th            5th              28th  
Using same fast car from last week at Indy that led 38 laps and finished third.
Note: The one track similar to Pocono on the circuit is Indy because of the long straightaways and flat, sweeping turns each possess.

Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.

Burton, Johnson Strong in Final Pocono Practices


Happy Hour practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway is over, after 60 scheduled minutes, the fastest, slowest, notes;
#31-Burton 166.936
#20-Logano 166.852
#48-Johnson 166.769
#83-Sorenson 166.735
#88-Earnhardt Jr. 166.448
slowest: #64-Bodine 152.832 and #7-Jones 156.753
no speed listed: #55-McDowell & #87-Nemechek [start-and-parkers]
incident: #82-Speed spun at the end of practice and did damage to the right side of the car and will go to a backup car for Sunday's race

1st Sat. practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway is over, after 45 scheduled minutes, the fastest, slowest, notes;
#24-Almirola/Gordon 167.942
#48-Johnson 167.414
#29-Harvick 167.333
#31-Burton 167.115
#16-Biffle 167.044
slowest: #46-Yeley 159.736 and #34-Conway 160.999
no speed listed: #7-Jones
incident: Aric Almirola made a few laps of practice in the #24 Chevy of Jeff Gordon, Almirola is a stand-by for Gordon in case his wife goes into labor.....a few minutes into practice, #24-Almirola slid off turn 1, but saved the car.

See Practice Page For All Speeds and Driver Averages

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tony Stewart Sitting on the Pocono Pole, Again!

Tony Stewart will be sitting on the Pocono pole for the third time in the last four races there, however, this is the first time he will have earned it with speed since both of last year's races were set by points with Stewart leading. Stewart laid down the fast lap of 171.393 mph to take the pole position away from Juan Pablo Montoya by just under three-tenths of a second.

Four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin finished third followed by another four-time winner in Jeff Gordon. 2003 Penn 500 winner Ryan Newman finished fifth to close out the top-five.

Saturday's first of two practices begins at 9:00 am (ET). A few hours after Happy Hour I will have a write up on how the sessions went along with my top rated drivers for Sunday's race.  

Pocono Race Lineup

Link: Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggling at Pocono as he tries to fight his way into the Chase - Bob Pockrass - 

Johnson Runs Qualifying-Trim Exclusively as Fastest In Pocono's First Practice

by Micah Roberts

Jimmie Johnson laid down the fastest lap of 168.944 mph during the first practice session at Pocono in preparation for Friday’s Pennsylvania 500 qualifying session. Johnson ran exclusively in qualifying trim throughout the afternoon while other teams spent the first half of the session tinkering with a race set-up. In June’s Pocono race, Johnson started 25th and finished fifth, but it was an uphill climb all day for the No. 48 making qualifying well this week set at a premium.

Four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin was second quickest, followed by Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. Newman and Stewart are each past winners at Pocono, while Busch had a career best start and finish at Pocono’s June race by starting from the pole and finishing second.

A.J. Allmendinger was sixth fastest on the session followed by Jeff Gordon. Juan Pablo Montoya and Clint Bowyer brought the same chassis’ they used in the June race, and ironically, had their final practice times finish in the same position they finished the June race -- eighth and ninth, respectively.

Greg Biffle closed out the top-10 practice times running only three laps on the day, the least amount of laps run by the non-start and park drivers. The No. 16 teams should be beaming with confidence as they have the same car this week that led 38 laps and finished third last week at the Brickyard.

David Ragan ran the most laps of the session with 21, but could only manage 30th on the charts.      

Pocono - Practice 1 Results  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tony Stewart Using Winning 2009 All-Star Chassis at Pocono This Week

Stewart Chassis Selection for Pocono: No. 14-515
This car is a carryover chassis from the former Haas CNC team, but it was essentially rebuilt since failing to qualify for the November 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Prior to Texas, Chassis No. 14-515 made two starts, with its debut coming in August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. There, Tony Raines qualified 30th and finished 31st. The car was then tested Sept. 9 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in preparation for its next start at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Raines was again at the wheel, qualifying 25th and finishing a respectable 23rd.

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.)Motor Speedway marked Chassis No. 14-515’s third career start, but first of 2009 and first with Stewart at the controls. The non-points race displayed a marked change for the car, as Stewart wheeled Chassis No. 14-515 into the lead on lap 98, where he held the point for the final two circuits around the 1.5-mile oval to take the car’s first victory as well as the first win of any kind for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The car saw track time again June 1-2 when it participated in a Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Last year’s Brickyard 400 was the car’s first point-paying start of 2009, where it qualified seventh and led two laps before finishing a solid third. It sat idle until getting a new body and a trip to the wind tunnel in preparation for its sixth career start this past May at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. There, it had an up-and-down performance, starting 24th and leading five laps while getting caught up in two on-track incidents that left it
23rd when the race ended.

With a new body honed in the wind tunnel, Chassis No. 14-515 returns to the track this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.


There’s school of thought that if you run well at Indianapolis, you’ll run well at Pocono and vice versa. Is that still the case?
“It used to be that if you ran well at Pocono then you had a good shot at running well at Indy. I don’t know if it’s still correlated the last couple years with the new car. The thing about Indy is that it’s glass smooth. It’s got a couple little bumps here and there, but you go to Pocono and it’s rough and bumpy. The setups are quite a bit different now.”

Your win at Pocono last June came in a fuel mileage race. Can you explain what you did to make sure you had enough fuel to go the distance while many of your competitors did not?
“I’ve lost a lot more races like that than I’ve won. It was between Carl (Edwards) and I. We were the strongest two cars at the end of the race and we were able to get the track position we needed. Our guys did a great job of getting us out of the pits in the lead and that gave us the opportunity to make Carl push harder in the beginning to get the lead. Once he went into that fuel conservation mode, we had to follow suit. To be in a situation where your speed is dictated off the guy behind you and not off of what you can do, it’s a different style of racing. It’s hard. It’s just as hard, if not tougher, than trying to run 100 percent.”

Explain a lap around Pocono.
“Turn one is probably the easiest of the three – you drive it in kind of deep and then try to float the car through the corner. You go down the backstretch and into the tunnel turn and it’s basically one lane. It’s flat and very line-sensitive. You’ve got to make sure you’re right on your marks every lap when you go through there. Then you’ve got a short chute into turn three. It’s a big, long corner and it too is very line-sensitive. Add the fact that we’ve got a straightaway that’s three-quarters of a mile long after that, and it’s very important that you get through the last corner well. You need to come off the corner quickly so that you’re not bogged down when you start down that long straightaway. Each corner has its challenges, and each one tends to present a different set of circumstances with each lap you make.”

From Tony Stewart Press Release - True Speed Communications

Kyle Busch Looking To Keep Pocono Momentum Going This Week

Kyle Busch will be using a brand new chassis (No. 277) from the Joe Gibbs Racing stable this week. In the first go around at Pocono in June, Busch led 32 laps and was runner-up to teammate Denny Hamlin. It was Busch's best finish at Pocono and only the second top-five finish of his 11 career starts.


Does your approach change heading to Pocono for the second time this season?
“A little bit, not much. The biggest thing you change for Pocono, it’s just a little bit hotter. It gets a little bit slick. Your lap times will be a little bit slower, so you just have to drive it a little bit differently. Besides all that, really there’s not much change there. I hope we can take that same approach we did in June with our M&M’s Camry this weekend. You run the racetrack as similarly as you can. You still work on the same things. All the same things seem to be a little bit more escalated because the grip level isn’t as high.”

How did Eddie D’Hondt do as your spotter this past weekend?
“Things went well. Eddie was with me for all three races and he did a great job. We’re going to go have some lunch later this week and talk about a couple of things on how he did, how I liked it, and what maybe Dave (Rogers, crew chief) wants to hear differently. But, so far, so good.”

Do drivers have to be more aggressive to stay up front and win races today?
“Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, there was far more give-and-take back in the old days, when you had that old car. I mean, you could race a little bit more. You could pass a little bit more with the old car. Now, everybody is so similar. Everybody runs the same lap times, so it’s hard to find that little bit to be better than the next guy. You race for every position, every ounce of racetrack you can find, all the time.”

How proud were you of the second-place finish in Pocono in June, given your previous record there?
“Really proud. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and my guys gave me a great racecar. Our M&M’s Camry was good. We kept messing with it all day, trying to make it a little bit better. I think it’s just the driver here who can make up so much with lap time. Denny (Hamlin) has this place figured out. I did the best I could. I went from about an F at knowing how to get around here to about an A, and an A didn’t get it done. But I was very satisfied with how we ran there, knowing how tough it’s been for me there in the past.”

Pocono is the most unique track on the circuit with three distinct corners. What’s the most difficult part of the track for you?
“The hardest part of the track, for me, is probably turn one, and then turn two is the second-hardest, and then turn three is the third-hardest. Turn three, last year, because of the patch they laid down. We couldn’t go down low and get underneath somebody and get a run on them because, when you come off the corner, you’re 8 to 10 mph slower than the guy on your outside, and they’re just going to blow right by you going down the straightaway.”

Since the track is unique, where is the best place to make a pass at Pocono?
“Most of your passing is going to be done probably through turn one and off of turn one and getting into turn two, if somebody can get a good run off of turn two, get back up high and get in line to get on that patch getting into turn three. Besides that, in turn one, we just can’t get the cars to turn down there because there’s so much load on the bump stops from going 210 mph down the front straightaway and then trying to slow it down to about a ‘buck-40’(140). Turn two is kind of bumpy and kind of rough. There are different areas where you’ve got to maneuver through the tunnel turn to get your car right. If you miss it just by a little bit, you tend to knock the wall down off the corner, so it’s tight.”

From Kyle Busch Press Release - True Speed Communications

Pocono Driver Chassis Selections: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500

by Jeff Wackerlin

1. Kevin Harvick: Fifth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races with the COT; Equaled best finish (fourth) and led first laps (5) in 19 starts in June; Will return in the same car that he raced in June.

2. Jeff Gordon: 10th-best average finish (13.6) in the five races with the COT; Four-time winner; Leader in laps led with 879; 10.7 average finish in 35 starts; 32nd-place finish in June ended streak of three consecutive top 10s.

3. Denny Hamlin: Ninth-best average finish (13.2) in the five races with the COT; Coming off fourth win in nine starts; Swept both races in 2006; Leads all drivers with a 8.6 average finish.

4. Jimmie Johnson: Leads all drivers with a 6.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Has led 146 laps with the COT; Last of two wins came in 2004 when he swept both events; Won the pole for the 2008 August race; Has finished seventh or better on five of the last six races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 592) that he finished 37th with at Charlotte in May.

5. Kurt Busch: 19.6 average finish in the five races with the COT; Finished sixth in June; Has scored one win and six top 10s in nine starts with Penske; Also won in 2005 with Roush; Has led 371 laps and posted 10 top 10s in 19 starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 712) that he finished 19th with at Dover in May.

6. Kyle Busch: 23.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Coming off best finish (second) after leading 32 laps from the pole in June; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 277) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

7. Jeff Burton: Seventh-best average finish (12.6) in the five races with the COT; Finished seventh in June for 16th top 10 in 33 starts; Five of his top 10s have come with Richard Childress Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 317) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

8. Matt Kenseth: Sixth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races with the COT; Last of eight top 10s came in the June 2008 event in seventh; Finished 17th in June for worst finish since this event in 2005; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 644) that he finished 14th with at Michigan in June.

9. Tony Stewart: Third-best average finish (10.2) in the five races with the COT; 4.7 average finish in three starts with Stewart-Haas; Won the 2009 June race in his track debut with SHR; Posted one win and 14 top 10s in previous 20 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 515) that he finished 23rd with at Darlington in May.

10. Carl Edwards: Second-best average finish (8.4) in the five races with the COT; Second in laps led with the COT with 158; Last of two wins came in this event in 2008; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 639) that he finished 16th with at Charlotte in May. 

11. Greg Biffle: Coming off second DNF in 15 starts with a 28th-place finish; 16.4 average finish in the five races with the COT; Last of two top 10s came in the 2006 June race; Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 696) that he finished third with last weekend at Indianapolis.

12. Clint Bowyer: 13.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Scored best finish in nine starts last year in this event in third; Finished ninth in June for fifth top 10; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 298) that he led 59 laps with in June after starting second. 

13. Mark Martin: Coming off worst finish (29th) in the last 12 races after a crash; 14.6 average finish in the five races with the COT; Last top 10 in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports came in this event last year in seventh; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 550) that he led 10 laps and finished 11th with at Indianapolis last weekend.

14. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Finished fourth in track debut with Rick Hendrick in first COT event at track; 18.0 average finish in five events with team; Five top fives and six top 10s in 21 starts with an average finish of 17.5; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 584) that he finished 19th with at Pocono in June. 

15. Ryan Newman: Eighth-best average finish (13.0) in the five races with the COT; 11.0 average finish in three starts with Stewart-Hass; Best finish with SHR came in the 2009 June race in fifth; Posted six top 10s in previous 14 starts with Penske Racing.

16. Jamie McMurray: Finished 36th in first track start with Chip Ganassi since 2005; Last top-10 finish (ninth-place) came with Roush racing in second event in 2008; 21.7 average finish in 15 starts with three top-10s; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1004) that he finished 24th with at Michigan in June.

17. Kasey Kahne: Won the 2008 June race from the pole after leading 69 laps; Finished fifth in this event last year after leading 35 laps; Fourth-best average finish (11.0) in the five races with the COT; Still holds track qualifying record, which was set in this event in 2004 during rookie season.

18. David Reutimann: 19.2 average finish in the five races with the COT; Finished third in the 2009 June race for only top 10 in seven starts.

19. Joey Logano: 21.0 average finish; 13th-place finish in June is best in three starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 278) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

20. Martin Truex Jr: 18.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Two top 10s in nine starts came with the old car; Finished 25th in June in track debut with Michael Waltrip Racing.

21. AJ Allmendinger: Coming off first top 10 in six starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 294) that he finished 11th with at Michigan in June.

22. Juan Pablo Montoya: Coming off three consecutive top 10s; Second-place finish in this event last year is best in seven starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 910) that he finished eighth with at Pocono in June.

23. Paul Menard: Has yet to finish better than 15th in seven starts; Coming off best finish in 16th; Average finish is 27.4; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 653) that he finished 30th with at Darlington in May.

24. David Ragan: Only top 10 in seven starts came in this event in 2008 in fifth; 23.1 average finish; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 670) that he finished seventh with in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte.

25. Brad Keselowski: Finished 21st in June in track debut; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 733) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

26. Scott Speed: 25.0 average finish in three starts; Coming off best finish in 20th.

27. Marcos Ambrose: 23.3 average finish in three starts; Only finish inside the top 25 came in the 2009 June race in sixth.

28. Elliott Sadler: 21.5 average finish in 23 starts with two top 10s; Finished 25th, 24th and 31st in three starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Will return in same car (chassis No. 283) that he finished 21st with at Bristol in June.

29. Sam Hornish Jr: Best track on the circuit based on 18.6 average finish; 8.3 average finish in last three starts; Finished a NASCAR career-best fourth in this event last year.

30. Regan Smith: Coming off best finish in four starts in 18th; 26.0 average finish.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Number 14
Unofficial Race Results for the The Gillette Fusion Proglide 500 Presented By Target
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Pocono Raceway - Long Pond, PA - 2.5 Mile Paved
Total Race Length - 204 Laps - 510 Miles - Purse: $4,945,083

1511Denny HamlinFedEx Freight Toyota20419510144.3$212,875Running588
2118Kyle BuschM&Ms Pretzel Toyota2041755124.7$220,854Running432
3614Tony StewartOld Spice/Office Depot Chevy20416598.2$163,146Running
42229Kevin HarvickShell/Pennzoil Chevy2041655113.2$153,249Running15
52548Jimmie JohnsonLowe's Chevy204155110.1$150,243Running
642Kurt BuschMiller Lite/Vortex Dodge204155581.5$146,196Running13
71331Jeff BurtonCaterpillar Chevy204146107.9$123,488Running
8742Juan Pablo MontoyaTarget Chevy20414293.8$117,654Running
9233Clint BowyerCheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy2041435119.7$88,150Running259
101743A J AllmendingerColeman Natural Foods Ford20413493$118,149Running
111977Sam Hornish Jr.Mobil 1 Dodge204135584.2$85,975Running116
122699Carl EdwardsKellogg's/Cheez-It Ford20412780.8$112,846Running
131220Joey LoganoHome Depot Toyota20412494$112,138Running
14939Ryan NewmanHaas Automation Chevy20412176.5$107,177Running
152900David ReutimannAaron's Dream Machine Toyota20411868.4$103,154Running
163398Paul MenardPittsburgh Paints/Menards Ford20411556.4$79,850Running
171517Matt KensethCrown Royal Black Ford20411276.1$116,399Running
182478Regan SmithFurniture Row Racing Chevy20410964.9$78,800Running
19388Dale Earnhardt Jr.National Guard/AMP Energy Chevy20410681.6$78,450Running
203182Scott SpeedRed Bull Toyota20410361.2$89,246Running
211112Brad KeselowskiNo. 12 Penske Dodge Dodge20410061.7$97,433Running
223838Travis KvapilLong John Silver's/Ice Flow Lemonade Ford2049746.6$90,483Running
232383Casey MearsRed Bull Toyota2049454.3$107,971Running
244326David StremmeAir Guard Ford2049152.6$82,900Running
252756Martin Truex Jr.NAPA Toyota2048875.6$68,625Running
26356David RaganUPS Ford2048554.5$76,975Running
2789Kasey KahneBudweiser Ford2038291.9$108,363Accident
282816Greg Biffle3M Ford2037977.2$75,675Accident
29145Mark Chevy2037666.2$85,025Accident
301647Marcos AmbroseLittle Debbie Toyota2037367$92,496Accident
312119Elliott SadlerStanley Ford2037052.8$72,725Running
321024Jeff GordonDuPont Chevy2036784.2$112,449Accident
333737David GillilandTaco Bell Ford2026438.9$80,421Running
342013Max PapisGEICO Toyota2006136.7$64,150Running
354234Kevin Conway #Extenze Ford1995834.4$66,000Running
36181Jamie McMurrayMcDonald's Chevy1675557.9$101,952Accident
373646JJ YeleyWhitney Motorsports Dodge405234.6$63,600Brakes
384171Bobby LabonteTRG Motorsports Chevy3254531.9$63,475Electrical11
393255Michael McDowellPRISM Motorsports Toyota274633.4$63,350Brakes
403466Dave BlaneyPRISM Motorsports Toyota244334.6$63,200Overheating
414036Geoff BodineTommy Baldwin Racing Chevy234031.5$63,045Rear Gear
423964Chad McCumbeeLittle Joe's Autos Toyota223727.3$62,890Rear Gear
433087Joe NemechekNEMCO Motorsports Toyota113427.5$63,276Transmission
Race Comments: Before an estimated crowd of 105,000, Denny Hamlin won the The Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500, his 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
To start the race, no cars dropped to the rear of the field
Failed to Qualify: (2) 09 Terry Cook #, 7 Ted Musgrave.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 44 Mins, 30 Secs.
Average Speed: 136.303 MPH
Margin of Victory: Caution
Caution Flags: 8 for 27 laps: Laps: 17-19 (Competition. [None]); 98-100 (Debris Turn 2 [1]); 155-158 (Debris Long Pond Straightaway [2]); 160-165 (#83 Spin Turn 1 [38]); 168-171 (#1, 6 Accident Turn 1 [83]); 176-178 (Debris Turn 3 [12]); 200-202 (#20, 29 Accident Turn 3 [12]); 205-205 ( [None]).
Lead Changes: 14 among 7 drivers: Kyle Busch 1-4; D. Hamlin 5-17; B. Labonte 18; Kyle Busch 19-37; C. Bowyer 38-77; D. Hamlin 78-79; C. Bowyer 80-98; Kyle Busch 99-100; K. Harvick 101-105; D. Hamlin 106-158; Kyle Busch 159-165; D. Hamlin 166-168; Kurt Busch 169-171; S. Hornish Jr. 172-187; D. Hamlin 188-204
Coors Light Pole Award : Kyle Busch, #18 169.485 mph
DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race : Kyle Busch, #18 crew chief Dave Rogers
Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap : Kyle Busch, #18 165.773 mph, Lap 2
Mahle Clevite Engine Builder of the Race : Denny Hamlin, #11
Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race : Kurt Busch, #2
Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Race : Kurt Busch, #2 S. Addington, 0.258 sec
O'Reilly Auto Parts Position Improvement Award : David Stremme, #26 19 places
Raybestos Rookie of the Race : Kevin Conway, #34
Sunoco Diamond Performance : Denny Hamlin, #11
Tissot Pit Road Precision : Kyle Busch, #18 242.809 seconds
WIX Filters Lap Leader : Denny Hamlin, #11 88 Laps

POCONO Notes & Quotes: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500

DENNY HAMLIN ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THREE STRAIGHT POCONO RACES: "Way too tough to predict wins in this sport, it’s just too competitive but I like coming here and this FedEx team always prepares really good cars for this track. Indy was frustrating for us, we really raced all day trying to get a spot back on the lead lap so I think we are excited to get here and put last weekend behind us. We are building really good cars right now as we look ahead and learning a lot. We want to come here, have a good weekend and keep our focus on a championship and performing at that level where we can compete each and every week. If that means win here, we’ll take it."

HAMLIN ON BEING COMFORTABLE WHERE HE'S AT IN THIRD-PLACE: "I don’t think you can ever get to comfortable knowing how just about anything can happen in this sport but we’ve been running pretty good this year and are pretty happy with our progress. We can’t rest even though we are in a good spot, we need to push like everything is in doubt. We have some bonus points already that will help us later in the season but we know how good our competition is and know that every position or win we can grab this season is going to be necessary if we want to be running for a championship this season. We may try a few things here and there to see if we can find an advantage but the goal is to always win races – that never changes."

HAMLIN ON RUNNING THE TRUCKS AND CUP SERIES AT POCONO THIS WEEKEND: "I am absolutely looking forward to running both races this weekend at Pocono. Obviously this Cup race is one I look forward to because we have been so strong here in the past and we look forward to getting back here and seeing if we can keep our momentum up, and even improve on our performances here. As far as the truck race, it should be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a shootout given the distance and I really do like running the trucks because they are fun to drive and are much different than the Cup cars. I also have some friends in that series that I don’t get to race against very often so it should be fun."

HAMLIN CHASSIS SLECTION: The FedEx team will unload Chassis JGR 279 this weekend in Pocono. JGR 267 will serve as the backup. HAMLIN'S BACK-UP CHASSIS IS THE CAR THAT WENT 3-FOR3 THIS YEAR INCLUDING A WIN AT POCONO IN JUNE.

KASEY KAHNE ON RACING AT POCONO: "The straight-aways are so long, you need to get all of the speed down them that you can so your car can come off of turn three as fast as possible. I’ve always liked the uniqueness of the three different corners and the challenge that it presents to the teams to set up your car to be fast at each of the different ends."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON RACING AT POCONO: "I think the difference between a good finish and a bad finish at Pocono is getting the car to turn through the center and really being able to get down into Turn 1. The car wants to go straight into that corner so bad. Getting comfortable enough to be able to be fast through the tunnel (Turn 2) all day long is important. The corners are so different it's so easy to try to improve one thing and just screw up something that wasn't even a problem. So when we've run good, we've had awesome race cars. Hopefully we'll have another one."

EARNHARDT JR CREW CHIEF LANCE McGREW ON ABILITY TO TEST BETWEEN POCONO RACES: "We test before we go to every single racetrack whether it's the wind tunnel, seven-post or some other type of simulation. Track testing is ultimately what we would like to get but don't have that opportunity with NASCAR. What we normally do when we repeat a track is we look at what we think went right the last time we were there and we do simulation runs off of that. We try to build files with the data we have collected over the years. We do simulation runs and seven-post runs. We try to build grip. It's not testing the traditional way where you go to the track and runs laps there. It's more a lot of really smart engineers figuring out how to make your car faster without having a driver, tires, fuel and travel expenses. You make time to do what you have to do to perform than you did the time before -- every single time.

EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-584. Earnhardt picked up the pole position at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to score a 15th-place finish with this chassis in March. Earnhardt last raced this chassis at Pocono in June where he notched a 19th-place finish after qualifying third.

DAVID REUTIMANN ON WINNING VERSUS POINT RACING: "I think a lot of things do get lost in the fact that there's a lot of focus put on the Chase, and rightfully so. That's what you're obviously trying to do. You're trying to win races. It's important to win races, but it's also about being consistent and all those things that gain you the most points. Every driver, when he's strapped in on Sunday, you're out there to try to win the race. For the drivers, I think the most important thing is going out there and trying to win races, doing what you can to help your cause. If you win races, that's always the better way to get in the Chase as well. It's a win-win situation if you can go out and win races. I know that's what we're focused on doing."

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON RETURNING TO POCONO RACEWAY: "We had a really good run at Pocono earlier this year. Unfortunately it came to an end on the last lap when we got caught up in a wreck. That’s been pretty much the story for this team this year or at least the past two months. We had a strong car there and we plan to go back with a similar setup, but the summertime race at Pocono is a lot different than the June race. This time when we go back, we’ll be searching for more grip and since the track changes, we’ll have to go there with an open mind. We’ll fine tune our NAPA Toyota. Pocono is one of those places where we get plenty of practice so we’ll be ready to work on the car like we do every weekend. I feel like our TRD engine program and the way our engine performed at Chicagoland and Indy, will be a big help too when we hit the track this go around. I really look forward to going to this race.

MARK MARTIN ON TAKING THE SAME CAR FROM INDIANAPOLIS TO POCONO: "That's one of the best cars we've had for awhile. The guys have been working very, very hard on every detail to get our cars to the place we want them to be. I think that we showed improvement at Indianapolis. We qualified well. We ran up front. We just faded a bit at the end. I'm glad we're bringing this car back this weekend. I think the team has a lot of confidence in it, and I think it's one of many steps in the right direction."

MARK MARTIN ON HIS MOST RECENT RACE AT POCONO: "We really struggled with the handling of our car all day. The car would be nearly perfect on fresh tires, but as those tires wore out, we lost all grip on the track and just couldn't hold our speed. I think we would have had a decent 10th- or 12th-place finish there at the end, but, as everyone saw, the competition just got crazy on the green-white-checkered restart. When that many cars are on the lead lap, and you've got two laps to duke it out, we're all going to run over one another. That's what happened. It ruined our race and really hurt us in points, but it happens. We just have to take what we learned from that race and apply it this weekend and hopefully gain some of those points back."

MARTIN CHASSIS CHOICE: Martin and crew chief Alan Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-550 for Sunday's race at Pocono. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to an 11th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.

GREG BIFFLE ON RACING AT POCONO: "I am very excited to be going back to Pocono with the car we finished third with last weekend at Indy. We have run very well the last two races. We had a top-five car at Chicago and then last week at Indy we had a car that could win and ended up with a third place finish. I’m ready to go to Pocono and Michigan to try to get the win that we’ve been working for. Who knows, we may have a shot at it at Watkins Glen too. I just can’t say enough about how well our cars and our engines are performing right now. We just need to get that win."

BIFFLE CREW CHIEF GREG ERWIN ON POCONO AND CHASSIS THEY'RE BRINGING: "We’re taking the car that we raced at Indy last week because we feel it is the best car we have right now and we need to take what we think is our best every week. We feel this car has the best chassis/body combination for what we need to run up front. This race can come down to fuel mileage so we are working on that but hopefully it will be a race to the finish rather than a conserve to finish kind of race. We didn’t have a great run there earlier this year but we were gaining ground before the wreck on the last lap. I look for us to be competitive this weekend and walk away with at least a top-five."

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON PEOPLE COMPARING INDY TO POCONO AND WHAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE: "People have said that and I have always thought they're crazy. Maybe if you look at the setup on paper, at one time they were similar. But I just don't think there's anything to get you ready for either one of the tracks. And then Pocono - it's a triangle. It's bumpy and rough and different and awkward. So I think Pocono is its own animal. I think it's a stretch to compare the two."

JOHNSON CHASSIS SELECTION: Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 592 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. Back up chassis No. 553 has collected three wins in four starts - the last coming at Auto Club Speedway in February.