Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win at Pocono on the heels of Jeff Gordon’s win a week earlier was a one-two feel-good punch for NASCAR. Two of the sport’s more popular drivers are assured a spot in the Chase this year, which makes the postseason sound very appealing and is a fan-magnet for those final 10 races.
The five races remaining before the start of the Chase feature a strong group of tracks that demand a wide range of skills: a short track, an even smaller short track, a 1.5-miler and a superspeedway between now and the end of the regular season.
Coming up this weekend is a wild card. Watkins Glen is a road course that drivers who don’t even like road racing like to come to, because it’s a fun mix of technical corners with long and fast straights.
Other stories this week include: another opportunity this Sunday for teams outside the Chase; a possible engine problem for Kyle Busch; and Jimmie Johnson's mini-slump is underway…or is it?
All this and more as the run-up to the Chase continues...