Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bowyer has finished NASCAR best 20th or better in 15 straight races heading into Pocono

Clint Bowyer is 30/1 to capture his first Pocono win this week
CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 Toyota Let’s Go Places Camry crew chief Brian Pattie is looking to see vast improvement from his team’s 15th-place finish in its last visit to Pocono Raceway. Pattie has high expectations for his team, but knows there is still work to be done before heading into the final 10 race stretch to determine a champion.

The No. 15 team is second in points with a 107 point advantage over 11th place with six races before the Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set. Clint Bowyer is one of three drivers in the top-10 still chasing his first victory of the 2013 season which would help to secure his Chase future and bonus points for the final 10 races.

The No. 15 team still holds all four of its NASCAR allowed testing dates available – a luxury Pattie attributes to the team’s position in the standings. That is about to change as the team is scheduled to test every week in August.

BRIAN PATTIE ON HIS GOAL FOR POCONO: “Improve on performance from our first visit to Pocono is our primary goal. We ran sub-par there and Indy the last two races that are close in setups, so we have to work on our program. And, in doing so we’ve changed a lot of stuff, so I’m looking forward to this weekend to see if we can improve. We have a lot of things that we’re working on. Execution is one thing and set up is the other. We’re really trying to work on some things now so that we’re ready for those last 10 races.

LEARNING FROM INDY: “I don’t think Indy went as well as we expected. It went about the same as it did in 2012, which wasn’t all that great to be honest. As a company we didn’t run very well. No cars in the top-10. When you have weekends like that you come back and bounce ideas off the other crew chiefs and as an organization we need to work on our package right now. If we get a car that runs up front and two that don’t then we can look at setups, but in this case when you have all three that didn’t run up to our expectations then we have to work on a bunch of stuff.”

POINTS: “Our main goal right now is to continue to gap ourselves to 11th place. I want to lock in early to the Chase. I want to lock in before Bristol or at Bristol and that’s been the goal for quite some time and we are still on that path. I’m happy we are second in points – that means that we’re doing something right. The consistency is there, but we need to execute and work on our setups to run in the top-five more consistently and at places outside of a short track, road course or superspeedway. Intermediates play a big role in the Chase and right now our intermediate package is maybe even a little further behind then we were last year.”

TESTING: “We have multiple tests coming in August. I think our team is testing every week leading into September, so hopefully we’ll get a lot of data, but it’s what you do with the data that counts. Being second in points gives you a little leeway as far as trying to save your four tests for the last 10 races. That’s still happening. One of our teams is going to the Goodyear tire test in Atlanta next week with a new generation car. That test needs to go well. We have our first scheduled test as an organization at Chicago here in a few weeks, so if we can save our four tests and get both the 15 and 56 teams in the Chase then I like our chances. Right now we need to work on our intermediate package and testing two in the next three weeks should help.”

Let’s Go Streaking! Bowyer has finished 20th or better in every race since Fontana – a streak of 15 races. The next longest top-20 streak by any other driver is 10 by Kevin Harvick.

Chassis: Primary Chassis No. 733 finished sixth at Phoenix and 15th at Pocono is 2013. Backup chassis No. 727 served as a backup at Phoenix, Bristol, Richmond, Pocono and New Hampshire, but not raced.

- Michael Waltrip Racing

Greg Biffle says he 'overachieved' in second-place Pocono finish in June

Greg Biffle is using anew chassis this week at Pocono and is 25/1 to win 
Greg Biffle – Pocono Advance
Team: No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Matt Puccia
Primary Chassis: RK-862 Brand new chassis
Backup Chassis: RK-822 Last ran Martinsville – finished 9th


Biffle at Pocono
* Biffle has 21 Sprint Cup career starts at Pocono. Earlier this season Biffle started 13th and worked his way to a second-place finish at Pocono.
* In 2010 he earned his only victory at the “tricky triangle,” while his other stats include three top-five and five top-10 finishes.
The Car
* Chassis RK-862 is a brand new chassis.
* The backup chassis RK-822 last earned a top-10 finish at Martinsville.
Local Boys
Three members of No. 16 3M team are from Pennsylvania. Team engineer Ben Beshore is from York, PA. Pit support member Dale Hoffman is from Allentown, PA and interior mechanic Wesley Lape is from Sinking Springs, PA.

Biffle on Pocono:
“I’m looking forward to going back to Pocono. Second-place finish last time, we kind of overachieved a little bit with a few restarts at the end which got us some spots. We are working hard on our race cars, we’ve got more down-force than we did last time we were there. We know turn three is where they are beating us, so we are going to concentrate on that and get us another top-five finish.”

Puccia on Pocono:
“Pocono has got a lot of grip and is much smoother than in years past. We ran well there in the spring and look to do that again this weekend. It’s difficult to find the right setup with three distinctly different corners, finding a balance between them is a challenge. Track position is a big factor and tires don’t wear out like the old Pocono. Good fuel mileage is also crucial.”

- Roush Fenway Racing

With Chase position in sight, Kurt Busch happy to be at Pocono

Kurt Busch is 15/1 to win this week at Pocono
DENVER, Colo. (July 31, 2013). It’s crunch time and Kurt Busch is excited the next Sprint Cup Series stop is at Pocono Raceway as the Furniture Row pilot continues his quest to become the first driver with a single-car team to make NASCAR’s Chase, the 12-driver, 10-race playoffs.

With six races remaining before the start of the Chase, Busch finds himself in 14th place, 13 points shy of 10th, the final Chase position before the two-wildcard entries.

“It’s just not us battling to get into the top-10 in points, there are a number of teams also close to making the Chase which makes it more difficult for everyone,” noted Busch, who captured the 2004 NASCAR championship in the first season of the Chase format. “It’s going to come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and who has the least amount of bad luck in the next six races.”

Pocono’s 2.5-mile triangular track has been good to Busch over the years. He has claimed two wins at Pocono along with nine top-fives, 13 top-10s and 449 laps led. At the Pocono June race he posted a seventh-place finish.

“Pocono is fun, you just get up on the wheel there because all three corners are different and they change throughout the race,” said Busch. “I’ve had success at Pocono in the past and I think we did really well there the last time (early June). Qualifying got rained out and we started 20th and then raced straight up to seventh immediately. Then we hit a brick wall and were stuck in seventh all race long and even finished in seventh.”

To achieve a better result than seventh in Sunday’s 400, Busch feels his Furniture Row Chevrolet SS needs to find better traction in Turn 3, also known as the tunnel turn.

“To break through we have to be a little better in turn three – turn three was loose in and tight off the last time we were there,” explained Busch. “Our Furniture Row Chevrolet wasn’t gripping the racetrack the right way in turn three. We know what we did wrong and now it’s a matter of filtering what would be the best approach for the next time there. We need a strong run this weekend after a disappointing 14th place finish in Indianapolis.”

Busch’s week prior to arriving in Long Pond, Pa. on Thursday has been busy from both a professional and personal level. Following Sunday’s race in Indianapolis, Busch headed to Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International for a two-day test session. He was then scheduled on Wednesday to be in Chicago to visit the Chicago Bears training camp and later in the day catch a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

- DMF Communications for Furniture Row Racing

Denny Hamlin says Pocono has been 'challenging' since the repave

Denny Hamlin has four wins at Pocono and is 9/1 to win this week
Event: 400
Date/Time: August 4/1 p.m. ET
2012 winner: Jeff Gordon
2012 polesitter: Juan Pablo Montoya
Distance: 160 laps/400 miles
Track Length: 2.5 miles
Banking: 14/8/6 degrees
Track Shape: Triangle


Indianapolis Recap: Denny Hamlin piloted the #11 FedEx Express Toyota to an 18th place finish in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After starting the day on the outside of Row 2, a stubbornly loose racecar dissolved Hamlin’s hopes of a first career win at The Brickyard. Indiana-native Ryan Newman took the checkered flag for his first win of the 2013 season, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth. Hamlin worked with crew chief Darian Grubb throughout the 160-lap event to try to tighten up the #11 machine, both under green flag pit conditions and under caution. Passing was at a premium during the race, and the team tried various pit strategies to make up track position. During green flag stops late in the race, Hamlin stayed on track to lead four laps, but was forced to come to pit road for fuel with less than 20 laps remaining, settling for an 18th-place finish at the checkered flag.

Pocono Preview: The Series heads back to Pocono Raceway for Sunday’s 400-mile event on the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ Hamlin finished eighth at Pocono in June, driving up from a 17th starting position after rain washed out qualifying. Hamlin has four wins and 10 career top-10 finishes in 15 starts at the three-turn track in central Pennsylvania. The 32-year-old driver swept both Pocono races from the pole as a rookie in 2006, and also scored victories at the track in August 2009 and June 2010. He has led a total of 663 laps at Pocono, with an average finish of 10.5.

FedEx Office – Closest to Pocono Raceway: 940 Schecter Drive, Ste 1, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702, (570) 819-0813


What are your expectations heading back to Pocono this weekend?
“Pocono is a track that this FedEx team has a lot of success at over the years. Before they repaved it a few years ago, it was a track that we circled on our calendars as one to expect to run up front and compete for the win. It has been a little bit challenging the last few races, but our team is working hard to try to get back that advantage. We weren’t the strongest car at Pocono in June, but we got ourselves a top-10 finish and we need to start stringing some good finishes together. Pocono is a great place to do that.”

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

Marcos Ambrose hoping Pocono test last week helps cause this week during race

Marcos Ambrose is 300/1 to win this week at Pocono
CONCORD, N.C. (July 30, 2013) - After spending a day testing at the 2.5-mile, triangular-shaped Pocono (Penn.) Raceway last week, Marcos Ambrose and his No. 9 Stanley team feel they have a winning game plan heading into Sunday’s 400.

Evidence of the successful test came at Indianapolis this past weekend when the No. 9 Ford was one of the fastest cars during practice and then qualified 10th. A piece of trash on the grill left Ambrose outside the top-10 at the end of the day.

Ambrose is looking to improve on his 17th-place finish in June.

Comments from Stanley Ford Fusion Driver Marcos Ambrose:
“I feel that we had a really good test here last week, and I think that will improve our chances this weekend. We tested early last week and then went to Indianapolis and showed a lot of speed in practice and qualifying. I think we learned a lot and will now take that information into Pocono this weekend.

“We still have the opportunity to get into ‘The Chase,’ and we have some opportunities to make that happen this month with some good tracks. We looked at testing at Pocono to give us a good chance to get a win. Watkins Glen is coming up, and then we also have run well at Michigan too. We are not counting ourselves out, and we’re just going to keep working hard.”

Comments from Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer on Pocono:
“The test helped, and then we learned a lot during the race at Indy too. I think we are all feeling good about what we’re bringing to Pocono this weekend. We have a few good races for Marcos coming up, and I think we have some good opportunities. The test helped, and now we’re ready to go capitalize on that.”

Chassis History:
The No. 9 team prepared chassis 842 for Sunday’s race, which the team raced at Pocono earlier this season.

About Richard Petty Motorsports
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force and STP and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Stanley and DEWALT. In addition, Michael Annett wheels the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.

- Breaking Limits Marketing for Richard Petty Motorsports

LVH Super Book odds to win 2013 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ryan Newman using winning Brickyard 400 chassis this week at Pocono

Ryan Newman is 15/1 to win this week. He won at Pocono in 2003.
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (July 31, 2013) – It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Not only did Ryan Newman earn his first win of the 2013 season from the pole Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his native Indiana, it also came at a most critical time for the driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

Newman, who jumped from 19th to 16th in the point standings after his win, finds himself only 25 points outside the all-important top-10. And, as one of only three drivers between 11th and 20th in points with a victory, he finds his chances of making the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by way of a possible wild-card berth certainly within reach.

Newman heads to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the site of Sunday’s 400 Sprint Cup race 20 points behind 12th-place Martin Truex Jr., who also has scored a win this season. While the points deficit is one that can be overcome by consistent finishes in the next six races, it can be erased completely by scoring a second win Sunday at the “Tricky Triangle” and vaulting Newman to the first wildcard berth.

Over the years, the triangular layout of Pocono has proven to be complicated and vexing to many drivers, but that has not been the case for Newman. In fact, the demanding dynamic and the unique shape of Pocono have made the famed triangle a favorite of the South Bend, Ind., native. And his history at the 2.5-mile track isn’t too shabby, either. In 23 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono, Newman has finished outside the top-15 just five times. He has two poles, one win, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s.

Historically speaking, drivers who experience success at Indianapolis are likely to follow that up with a strong run at Pocono. Given some of the similarities between the facilities, it’s easy to understand how Newman has to be considered a favorite heading into this weekend’s race. And considering he will be behind the wheel of Chassis No. 39-733, the same Chevrolet SS he drove to victory lane at Indy, his odds would seem to be all the better.

So, Newman and his team led by crew chief Matt Borland head to Pocono with visions of repeating last weekend’s successes. They know what a second win would mean in their bid to make the Chase. And with Haas Automation – the world’s largest CNC machine tool builder in the Western world – behind him and on his racecar’s hood at Pocono, Newman knows he has the “tools” to put his No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet in victory lane for the second consecutive week.


It seems as if drivers either love or hate Pocono Raceway because it is so difficult. What are your thoughts on the “TrickyTriangle?”
“It’s one of my favorite racetracks just because it is so difficult. It’s really fun to drive. I like it because it’s challenging. Each corner is different – different radius, different banking, different bumps. Each straightaway is a different length. It just seems like it’s a driver’s racetrack and a crew chief’s racetrack because he has to get the car to the driver’s liking in all three corners. It’s all about matching up the combination of how the crew chief sets up the car relative to how the driver drives the racecar to make a happy package and have a
shot at victory. It’s fun to have unique situations and unique racetracks. We look forward to going to Pocono each and every time.”

Based on how well you ran at Pocono back in June, and coming off your win at Indianapolis, winning two races in a row might not be out of the question, is it?
“Well, it’s not out of the question. I’d say there’s a better chance than if we were heading to Sonoma this week. But, I always look forward to Pocono. It’s a track I’ve always enjoyed racing at. Not only that, I’m hoping to get a little bit of down time after this hectic week we’ve had to do a little fishing up there.”

Pocono is a one-of-a-kind race track. Talk a little bit about what makes this track so unique.
“It’s like I said, the combination of driver, crew chief and a good-handling racecar are more important at Pocono than anywhere else because of the asymmetry. The three different corners, different banking and different straightaway lengths, if you’re shifting or not shifting, there are so many variables. There’s a lot of communication that has to be done at Pocono. I like the different corners. That’s where you can make or lose a lot of time. Pocono is very unique in the sense that there’s no perfect setup. You have to give up a little in one corner to be good in the others.”

The No. 39 team is bringing the Brickyard 400-winning racecar to Pocono this weekend, is that correct?
“Yes, we are. It’s actually the same racecar we had at the first Pocono race that we finished fifth with. We had planned on turning it around and bringing it. We had no idea at that point it would take until Tuesday. What I don’t think a lot of people know is, with the NASCAR inspection process, the winning racecar is taken from the track back to the NASCAR R&D center, where they go over absolutely everything. Sometime around lunchtime Tuesday, the team then gets the car back. From that point, we’ll peel the wrap, rewrap it with the Haas Automation colors, and begin the prep work for Pocono. The guys will then load it on the truck and it’ll head to the track for this weekend’s race.”

Chassis No. 39-733: 
A workhorse of the No. 39 fleet, Chassis No. 39-733 debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2012, when Newman recorded a seventh-place finish. The crew turned the car around in just a couple of days and took it to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where it finished sixth. Two weeks later, the chassis was back on track at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where it finished eighth. The chassis earned its first top-five finish at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The chassis next raced three weeks later at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The chassis made its last start of 2012 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in October, when Newman was involved in an incident that forced him to retire from the event prematurely.

Chassis No. 39-733 was outfitted with a new front clip and a Chevrolet SS body over the offseason, and saw its first laps of 2013 at Kansas in April, when Newman finished 14th. He then raced this Chevrolet SS to a 10th-place finish at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May. Newman again raced Chassis 39-733 at Pocono in June, where he recorded a fifth-place finish. Newman was in contention to score another top-10 finish with Chassis 39-733 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in June, but a late-race restart saw him shuffled to 14th when the checkered flag waved. Most recently, Newman qualified the car on the pole and led 45 laps en-route to earning his first win of the 2013 season in last weekend’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.

- True Speed Communications

Johnson Posted as a Large 3-to-1 Favorite by LVH to Sweep Pocono Season

Jimmie Johnson dominated the June 9 Pocono race 
LAS VEGAS -- The LVH SuperBook has opened Jimmie Johnson as a 3-to-1 favorite to win Sunday’s 400 at Pocono Raceway, the second race held on the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle this season. The extremely low odds on Johnson stem from him winning the June 9 race, where he led 128 of the 160 laps for the third Pocono win of his career. Johnson is also the active leader at Pocono with an 8.7 average finish in 23 races.

A sweep at Pocono wouldn’t be surprising, especially by Johnson, who won both Daytona races this season, the first time that’s happened since Bobby Allison did it in 1982. Johnson is one of six drivers to have swept the season at Pocono, having done so in 2004. Allison also swept Pocono in 1982, the first year two Cup races were held there.

Another factor in Johnson’s favor is that he had the best car at Indy last week, leading a race-high 73 of 160 laps. The two tracks run very similar because of the long straightaways, and turn 3 at Pocono is also comparable to Indy’s flat corners. Ten of the drivers who finished in the top 15 in the June Pocono race finished in the top 15 at the Brickyard last week. Chances are if a driver ran well on one or both tracks already this season, he'll run well again on Sunday.

One case that can be made against Johnson this week is that it’s unlikely he’ll be using the same chassis with which he finished second last week and won at Pocono in June. That monster chassis also won the 2012 Brickyard 400. It wouldn’t take a lot of work to turn the car around because the set-ups are so similar, but it’s likely that Johnson’s Pocono car for this week has already been prepared weeks in advance and is awaiting transport.

If Johnson is using a different chassis this week – we’ll know Wednesday – that opens the door for several other drivers to have a good chance at capturing a victory this week, starting with the nine who finished in the top 15 at both Pocono and Indy this season.

Contenders chasing Johnson:

Jeff Gordon (10/1): He’ll be looking for his seventh career Pocono win while making his 42nd career start on the track on his 42nd birthday. He won this race last season and has a 10.2 average finish over his career. He finished 12th in June and was seventh last week at Indy.

Read More Here.......LVH list of Odds to Win

Matt Kenseth 'learned a fair amount' during June Pocono race

Kenseth is 10/1 to win for first time at Pocono
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota Preview 400 at Pocono Raceway

No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota News and Notes:

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS: In 27 Sprint Cup Series career starts at Pocono Raceway, Matt Kenseth has an average finish of 14.7, has completed 5,056 of 5,107 (99.0 percent) career laps, and has led for a total of 54 laps (15 of those laps came in 2012 after the track was repaved.) Kenseth has earned three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile track.

JOE GIBBS RACING AT POCONO: Joe Gibbs Racing has 89 Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono Raceway and has earned nine wins, 23 top-five, and 40 top-ten finishes. The organization has led for a total of 1,068 laps, has an average finish of 15.8, and completed 16,051 of 16,946 (94.7 percent) laps.

COME ONE, COME ALL: Kenseth is scheduled to sign autographs on behalf of Gatorade on Thursday, August 1st from 5:00pm-6:45pm at the Wegman’s grocery store located at 3791 Easton/Nazareth Highway, Easton, PA.

RACE INFO: The 400 at Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile) begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 4th. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

Matt Kenseth Quote: “I think we learned a fair amount during the July race at Pocono. It seemed like the first Pocono race was the point where everybody was kind of changing their theories and setups, and I think that people have been constantly trying to get the cars better since then. I think the stuff we did at Pocono we can learn from as we head into this weekend, but I think things will change a fair amount from the first race as we head back for this weekend’s race. I really enjoy racing at Pocono now since they repaved the track because that track surface is incredibly smooth, so we’ll see how our Husky Toyota handles as we continue to build upon our notes there.”

From the Pit Box:

Jason Ratcliff:
“I thought we ran well at the first Pocono race earlier this season. Thankfully we got home to the shop and we were able to look at a handful of areas that we felt we could do better with, and I felt like we had some immediate answers to say here’s what we could have done to be even better. We got caught up in a wreck and had a few other issues, but I thought we had some good speed in our car, and we have some new ideas to take back to Pocono this weekend. It’s a track that Matt (Kenseth) has done well at, especially after the repave, so I’m looking forward to going back there with an even better Husky Toyota this second time around.”

About Husky Tools:
With over 85 years of experience building the toughest hand tools, air tools and tool storage products, Husky Tools is rebranding. In an effort to become the complete, one stop shop “garage brand” for The Home Depot customers, Husky’s new product line can outfit an entire garage workshop with quality and affordable storage units, tools, work benches and more. With a focus on quality, innovation and value the brand has enhanced product quality, features and durability while continuing to focus on value. Husky delivers national brand performance at an as good or better price. Husky tools have a lifetime guarantee, and the brand has dedicated resources in Atlanta (888) HD-HUSKY and for customers to access.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Kyle Busch now 'looking forward to Pocono because of Dave Rogers'

Kyle Busch is 10/1 to win for first time at Pocono this week 
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 30, 2013) – Just 50 miles separate the headquarters of Mars Chocolate North America and the site of Sunday’s 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

A pre-race visit to the Hackettstown, N.J., headquarters by driver Kyle Busch and his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) might be just the spark that will help them capture their first-ever win together at Pocono.

Busch will no doubt find plenty of encouragement during the pre-race visit to Mars Chocolate North America. There, the M&M’s driver and the entire No. 18 JGR team will have the opportunity to meet with hundreds of Mars associates, and many of those same associates will travel just down the road to Pocono Sunday to cheer for Busch.

The Las Vegas native has won at 17 of the 23 tracks at which the Sprint Cup Series competes. The only six tracks Busch has failed to reach victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series are: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and, of course, Pocono.

Busch makes it no secret that Pocono has given him fits over the years as he has six top-10 finishes in 17 previous starts there, along with eight finishes of 22nd or worse. But, three of his top-five finishes have come during his last seven outings at the 2.5-mile triangle, and some of his best finishes have come since he joined JGR at the start of the 2008 season.

The M&M’s team will hope to glean some positive vibes from the Mars associates to finally push the racing team over the top at Pocono. This week’s visit will help Busch & Company be “Better with M,” calling upon the latest integrated marketing campaign by M&M’s, which showcases how the company’s irresistible chocolate makes moments more fun and delicious.

So, as the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains for Sunday’s 400, Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers and the entire M&M’s team will hope they can use some extra motivation from a visit to “M” in order to find victory lane for the first time at Pocono.


What are your thoughts on the shorter, 400-mile distance at Pocono?

“I think that’s a positive change. You know, certainly sometimes I felt like it may be a bit long there or drawn out. Now it might add less of a lull during the middle part of the race. So, you’ll have the beginning and people trying to make moves and get themselves in position. Then you’ll have guys working it and getting themselves in position for the final pit stop and the final run, thereafter. Hopefully, we’ll finally get that win at Pocono with our M&M’s Camry.”

Until the last three seasons, Pocono seemed to be a place where you struggled. What changed there to help you be in contention for wins, of late?
“Pocono used to be a place I didn’t look forward to going to but, lately, I’ve been looking forward to it because of Dave Rogers (crew chief). I struggled there and Dave does a really good job of working with our teammates. With Denny (Hamlin) being so good there, we used some of the baseline stuff from his 11 car and tweaked it more to my liking. Denny is still way better than I am there, but Dave, along with everyone on the M&M’s team and JGR, have done a good job of giving me solid racecars and it’s given me more confidence there. We really didn’t get to race the full distance either time there because of mechanical issues, so I’m hoping to get a full race in and see what we are capable of in the second year with this surface.”

How did you like the job they did repaving the track at Pocono?
“The pavement job was great. They did a really nice job. They took out a lot of bumps. There are still a few little bumps in it, which is fine. It’s only going to get worse over time, which is fine. It gives the track character.”

Did the repaving of the track at Pocono improve the racing last year?
“I thought the racing there was kind of the same, not much different. It was a little bit harder to pass because it seems like, when you’re out front in clean air, you have so much more of an advantage than being back in traffic than what it used to be – slightly, not much. To me, it was always a hard, tricky place, but it’s actually finally started becoming a two-lane racetrack in turn three. You could run the bottom and you could run the top with what we call ‘the grip strip.’ Now, it’s all grip, so it’s all back to the bottom again and you can’t really make up much time on the outside, anymore.”

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 mph). 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.”

- True Speed Communication for Mars USA/Joe Gibbs Racing

Kevin Harvick still seeking first career Pocono win

Classic Pocono Moment: Harvick punting Logano late in 2010 race
Kevin Harvick
No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week’s Budweiser Chevrolet SS at Pocono Raceway
… Kevin Harvick will pilot chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the 400 at Pocono Raceway. This Chevrolet was most recently utilized by the No. 29 team at Pocono Raceway in June starting the race fifth and finishing ninth.

Taking on the “Tricky Triangle” … Since his first appearance at Pocono Raceway, Harvick has 25 starts to his credit. Throughout the years, the RCR driver has collected five top-five and nine top-10 finishes, holds an average starting position of 19.2 coupled with an average finishing position of 13.9, has completed 96.2 percent (4,528 of 4,707) of the laps contested, with five laps led.

Season to Date … With 20 point paying events complete in the 2013 season, Harvick sits fourth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 90 markers behind the leader. In those 20 starts, the California native has accumulated two wins, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. According NASCAR’s Season-To-Date Loop Data Statistics, Harvick sits second in Percentage of Laps Run on the Led Lap (93.22 percent), third in Laps in the Top 15 (4,588), is the third-Fastest in Traffic, fourth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and is fifth in the category of Green Flag Speed.

Race Rewind … Harvick started 21st in the 2012 rain-delayed and shortened event at Pocono Raceway, and battled a loose-handling condition before crossing the finish line 16th.


How do you approach racing at Pocono Raceway?
“The first thing is you’ve got to survive the restart. The track is really fast and the thing I like about what they did at Pocono is that all the bumps are now kind of swells instead of extreme bumps. Each corner is fast. Turn 1 is a corner where you drive in and down shift. The key to Pocono is getting up off the corners and in the throttle and being able to stay in the throttle really in all three (turns).”

- Richard Childress Racing

2013 400 Preview: Who can stop Johnson from sweeping Pocono season?

Tony Stewart is one of a few who could give Johnson a run Sunday
For those looking to wager on this Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway, the first order of business at hand is to not only look at what happened in the June 9 race at Pocono, but also last week’s results from the Brickyard 400. The similarities between the two 2.5-mile tracks lie within the long straightaways and at least one instance -- turn 3 at Pocono -- that resembles Indy’s flat turns.

Ten of the top-15 finishes in the first Pocono race finished in the top-15 Sunday at the Brickyard, including Sunday’s winner, Ryan Newman, who finished fifth at Pocono. Jimmie Johnson won the June race and finished second on Sunday using the exact same chassis for both races, which was also the same one that he used to win last year’s Brickyard 400. However, that beast of a chassis is unlikely to be turned around this quickly and be ready for this week, even though there shouldn’t be too much tinkering required on it because the set-ups for each track are similar.

The No. 48 team will have its press release sent out by Wednesday which will detail what chassis Johnson is using this week, and if it isn’t the same chassis he used to lead the most laps at Pocono and Indy this year, it shakes up the odds considerably for everyone else. Or rather, it gives everyone else a fighting chance.

If it wasn’t for an out-of-the-ordinary late muff by the No. 48 pit crew in their final pit stop that last 17 seconds, Johnson would have been able to win at Indy again -- for a record fifth time. Newman’s crew made the winning move by taking only two tires in their final pit stop, while Johnson’s took four, but the margin victory was just under three seconds. If Johnson’s crew had just been able to shave off three seconds and make just an average pit stop, Johnson would have been able to make the winning pass on Newman with about two laps to go.

No one’s crying for Johnson, though. This guy has four wins on the season already and is making a mockery of the points system by having a 75-point lead over second-place Clint Bowyer. That’s almost two entire races of maximum points that Johnson leads by which is why he’s an overwhelming EVEN (Bet $100 to win $100) money favorite at the LVH Super Book to win the Chase this season.

As for Newman, he moved up three points in the standings to 16th but still needs some help to gain the final wild card spot in the Chase with six races to go. For the lucky few that had the foresight to take Newman last week, he paid off at 50/1 odds. Following a good practice session and then qualifying well enough to start from the pole, his odds were dropped down to 25/1 at the LVH.

Carl Edwards going for third Pocono win on Sunday

Carl Edwards is 25/1 to win this week
Carl Edwards – GOBOWLING.COM 400
Team: No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Primary Chassis: RK- 808 last ran at Pocono
Backup Chassis: RK – 826 backup for Indianapolis


Carl Edwards
… enters the weekend third in the series points’ standings. This season, Edwards has one win, six top-five, ten top-10 finishes and one pole. 

Edwards at Pocono… In 17 starts at the 2.5-mile track, Edwards has two wins, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He has an average start of 18.0 and an average finish of 13.5. 

In the Loop… According to NASCAR’s Loop Statistics compiled over the last 17 races at Pocono, Edwards has turned 175 of the track’s fastest laps which is fifth highest and led a total of 221 laps (fourth highest). Edwards’ driver rating (97.8) is sixth best among active drivers. 

The Car… The Blue Team will unload RK – 808 which last ran in the Party in the Poconos 400 in June. Edwards brought the No. 99 Ford to an 18th-place finish. 

Primary Sponsor Note… Fastenal will return as the primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford, with supplier brands PowerPhase, Loctite, Krylon and Fluke on the hood, TV panel, deck lid and B-post.

Edwards quotes on the Pocono 400
“Pocono is a big, fast and difficult race track. It’s difficult because it takes every part of your car and team working perfectly to win there. We’ve got two victories and those were days when everything was going right. You have to have a great engine, great pit crew, great strategy and fuel mileage; you have to have the car setup perfectly. It’s a really difficult race track. We’ve also had troubles there and with the new pavement, we’ve yet to come out and have a dominant race at Pocono.”

“We feel that our qualifying at Indy was really good, and Pocono is similar to Indy in a number of ways so we’re hoping we can get the pole there. The first half of the race at Indy we were really strong and we just struggled on one restart. We’re hoping we can take the strong run we had during the first half of the race at Indy and run that way the whole day at Pocono. We have not been as fast as we need to be for the last couple of months and I think every Ford is coming to Pocono with one thing in mind and that’s a victory. It’d be nice for Fastenal to get that victory. It’d be great to get those extra bonus points headed towards thestretch before the chase starts. At the end of the day it’s a fun race track so hopefully we can come out of there with a smile.”

- Roush Fenway Racing

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jeff Gordon to make 42nd Pocono start on 42nd birthday

Jeff Gordon is 10/1 to win for seventh time at Pocono Raceway 
POCONO, Pa. (July 29, 2013) - For defending race winner Jeff Gordon, the party in the Poconos may begin race morning. Will the celebration continue well past that afternoon’s 400 at Pocono Raceway?

Gordon, who will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Sunday, will make his 42nd start at the 2.5-mile track this weekend. His six victories and 965 laps led are tops at “The Tricky Triangle” while he also has two poles, 18 top-fives and 28 top-10′s in his previous 41 starts at the Pennsylvania track.

“This is a very challenging track, but I love racing here,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. “In June, we had a fast race car but we struggled early in the run.

“We need to find some more speed early in the run while also having a fast car over the long runs.”

In this event one year ago, Gordon restarted sixth just past the halfway mark and was able to ‘clear’ Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne before turn 1. When contact sent the top four out of the groove or into a spin, Gordon drove the inside lane to the lead – and to victory since a persistent rain halted the race short of full distance.

“I love the fight in this team,” said Gordon. “Last year, we battled hard all day long and got into a position to battle for the win. We got a little bit of a ‘gift’ at the end to win, but we worked hard to put ourselves in a position to take advantage of any miscue.”

“It was Alan’s (Gustafson, crew chief) birthday and he had family with him, and my family was here with me, too. It was just a special win.”

Last Sunday at Indianapolis, Gordon finished seventh to move up to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings – the first time he has been in the top 10 since the second race of the season. Four top-10 finishes in the last five races have advanced the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion up six positions in the standings.

“We’ve had some fast race cars, but we just need to string together some strong finishes,” said Gordon. “It seems like every time we get some decent finishes, something happens to halt that momentum. We have six races left before the Chase, and we need to make the most of them so we can earn a spot.

“If you earn a spot, the points reset puts you right back in the title hunt.”

And a fifth series title at age 42 is definitely not out of the question.

- Performance PR Plus

Pocono Raceway Track Facts: 2013 400

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Top 12 at Pocono Raceway
 DriverRacesPolesWinsTop FivesTop 10sDNFsAverage FinishDriver Rating
1Jimmie Johnson2323101608.7110.0
2Clint Bowyer150017015.180.0
3Carl Edwards170258013.597.8
4Kevin Harvick250059213.990.2
5Dale Earnhardt Jr.2710610116.788.0
6Matt Kenseth2700310014.790.7
7Kyle Busch171046418.485.9
8Greg Biffle210135216.787.8
9Kasey Kahne192146217.889.6
10Jeff Gordon41261828510.2100.0
11Tony Stewart29221221211.098.8
12Martin Truex Jr.150025015.381.7
* – Based on last 17 races at Pocono Raceway.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Wild Card Standings Following Indianapolis
PosDriverWinsPts PosPointsPts From 10thStartsPolesT5sT10sDNFs
1Tony Stewart111558-1200570
2Martin Truex Jr.112554-5200482
3Ryan Newman116534-25201395
4Brad Keselowski013553-6201691
5Kurt Busch014546-13201482
6Jamie McMurray015537-22201150
7Aric Almirola017529-30200153
8Joey Logano018524-35200592
9Paul Menard019520-39200041
10Jeff Burton020499-60200241
11David Ragan128352-207200113
The top-10 drivers will make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Positions 11 and 12 in the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are Wild Cards, and will go to drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, as long as they are ranked in the top 20 in points. If multiple drivers outside the top 10 tie for wins, the tie-breaker will go to the race winner with the highest points position.
Greg Biffle was runner-up in the June 9 Pocono race
At Pocono Raceway:
·       Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971.
·       The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty, Dodge, 115.593 mph, 08/04/1974.
·       The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011.
·       There have been 71 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since.
·       2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway.
·       314 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway; 218 in more than one.
·       Ricky Rudd leads the series in starts at Pocono with 55. Terry Labonte leads all active drivers with 54 starts; followed by Mark Martin with 53.
·       Buddy Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Pocono in 1974 with a speed of 144.122 mph.  
·       39 drivers have Coors Light poles at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Ken Schrader with five each; followed byMark Martin with three.
·       Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Pocono with three; fall 1984 and both races in 1985.
·       Four active drivers have posted consecutive Coors Light poles at Pocono: Mark Martin (fall 1990 and spring 1991), Ken Schrader (1993 sweep), Denny Hamlin (2006 sweep) and Joey Logano (fall 2011 and spring 2012).
·       Youngest Pocono pole winner: Joey Logano (8/7/2011 – 21 years, 2 months, 14 days).
·       Oldest Pocono pole winner: David Pearson (6/10/1984 – 49 years, 5 months, 19 days).
·       31 different drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, led by Jeff Gordon with six wins.
·       Six drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway, including three consecutive by Bobby Allison(1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987).
·       Youngest Pocono winner: Joey Logano (6/10/2012 – 22 years, 0 months, 17 days).
·       Oldest Pocono winner: Harry Gant (6/17/1990 – 50 years, 5 months, 7 days).
·       Hendrick Motorsportshas the most wins at Pocono in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 14: Jeff Gordon (six),Tim Richmond (three), Jimmie Johnson (three), Geoff Bodine (one) and Terry Labonte (one).
·       Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Pocono; led by Chevrolet with 27 victories; followed byFord with 21.
·       15 of the 71 (21.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson earlier this season.
·       The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (15) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway.
·       24 of the 71 (33.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from the front row: 15 from the pole and nine from second-place.
·       50 of the 71 (70.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a top-10 starting position.
·       Five of the 71 (7.0%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·       The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Pocono was 29th, by Carl Edwards in the spring of 2005.
·       Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Pocono with seven; followed by Jeff Gordon, Kurt Buschand Richard Petty with five each.
·       Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Pocono with 20; followed by Jeff Gordon with 18.
·       Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Pocono with 34; followed by Jeff Gordon with 28.
·       Denny Hamlin leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Pocono with a 6.333.
·       Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with an 8.652.
·       11 of the 13 active NASCAR Sprint Cup winners at Pocono Raceway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards won at Pocono in their first appearances.
·       Terry Labonte competed at Pocono Raceway 17 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the 13 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.
·       Among the 13 active NSCS Pocono winners Terry Labonte (17), Greg Biffle (15) and Bobby Labonte (12) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win.
·       Mark Martin leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono without visiting Victory Lane at 53; followed by Jeff Burton with 39.
·       Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway was the July 23, 2000 race won by Rusty Wallace over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.126 second.
·       There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Pocono Raceway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): spring of 2005 (200/201); fall of 2005 (200/203); spring of 2010 (200/204).
·       Six of the 71 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 8/5/2012.
·       Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway four times; most recently the fall of 2009.
·       Casey Mears (8/1/2004) posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Pocono Raceway.
·       One active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has posted his first career win at Pocono Raceway: Denny Hamlin(06/11/06).
·       Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Pocono with 965 laps led in 41 starts.
·       Two female drivers have competed at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie andDanica Patrick.
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie
Janet Guthrie
Danica Patrick
Pocono Raceway Data
Season Race #: 21 of 36 (08-04-13)
Track Size: 2.5-miles
Banking/Turn 1: 14 degrees
Banking/Turn 2: 8 degrees
Banking/Turn 3: 6 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 3,740 feet
Backstretch Length: 3,055 feet
Shortstretch Length: 1,780 feet
Race Length: 160 laps / 400 miles
Top 12 Driver Rating at Pocono
Denny Hamlin.......................... 113.8
Jimmie Johnson...................... 110.0
Kurt Busch............................... 103.8
Jeff Gordon.............................. 100.0
Tony Stewart.............................. 98.8
Carl Edwards............................. 97.8
Ryan Newman............................ 95.4
Mark Martin................................ 93.1
Matt Kenseth.............................. 90.7
Kevin Harvick............................. 90.2
Kasey Kahne.............................. 89.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr....................... 88.0
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (17 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway.
Qualifying/Race Data
2012 pole winner: Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 176.043 mph, 51.124 secs. 8-3-12
2012 race winner: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 139.249 mph, (01:45:34), 8-5-12
Track qualifying record: Joey Logano, Toyota, 179.598 mph, 50.112 secs. 6-8-12
Track race record: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 6-12-11
NASCAR in Pennsylvania
·       There have been 105 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Pennsylvania.
Track Name
Pocono Raceway
Long Pond
Langhorne Speedway
Lincoln Speedway
New Oxford
Heidelberg Raceway
Reading Fairgrounds
Bloomsburg Fairgrounds
New Bradford Speedway
Pine Grove Speedway
Williams Grove Speedway
·       140 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Pennsylvania.
Dick Linder
Jimmy Spencer
Mark Donohue