FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Top Five Ride Momentum into Race 14 in Pocono

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIJune 6, 2013

Clint Bowyer jokes with reporters before the 2013 season during media day in Daytona.  Credit: Dwight Drum
Clint Bowyer jokes with reporters before the 2013 season during media day in Daytona. Credit: Dwight Drum

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series climbs up to the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania for a challenging race on the 2.5-mile triangle with 14 degree banking at Pocono Raceway.

This race is named the Party in the Poconos 400 presented by Walmart, but the track is known as "The Tricky Triangle." NASCAR drivers past and present respect this fast track that opened on August 4, 1974. A recent re-pavement has rendered most historic data inadequate so teams will look forward to practice time with keen awareness.

Rainy weather may interfere with anticipated adjustment laps.

NASCAR fans without a ticket for one of the 76,812 seats can view the action on TNT at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday, June 9.

The top-five drivers in NSCS, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick shared comments with fans about Pocono Raceway.

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Chevrolet team will roll up hill to Pocono with the NSCS point lead even though they flubbed a late restart in Dover sending them to the back where they were denied any chance of winning.

“I like Pocono,” Johnson said. “I’m interested to see how the new surface acts going back. I think it went really well for all of us after the repave and it should only be better this time. I’m also excited to shift again up there.”

Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Ford team have been struggling with the new Gen-6 car along with other Ford teams, but Edwards has somehow managed to cling to the second place spot in the NSCS points. Meanwhile Ford engineers are working furiously.

"We’ve won at Pocono; it’s a fun race track and with the shifting it’s a really tough race track it’s almost like a road course, it’s really tough on the cars and it’s a mentally challenging racetrack. I’ve had a lot of fun up there with the Kellogg’s folks over the last few races and we hope to go there and win the race and come out on top of the point’s standings."

Clint Bowyer and the No. 15 Toyota team have been in the Top 10 most of the 2013 season and move up to third place heading into the Tricky Triangle.

When you are with a team like I have, with Brian Pattie (crew chief) and everybody with this 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, it’s fun to come to any race track knowing that you’ll have a shot at it. You’re going to have a good car and everybody is ready to go to battle, so it’s just another race in the schedule for me. I’m ready to go there and I think we can run well.

Matt Kenseth and the No.20 Toyota team are always a threat to take the checkered flag. Kenseth’s arrival at Joe Gibbs Racing this season has been a boost to driver and team.

Honestly, I've never had a lot of success at Pocono. The last few years, before they paved it, really can't say it was one that I would really look forward to or really enjoyed. It was just always kind of a struggle. When they paved it last year, I can't even recall where we finished either race to be honest with you. We performed better. I like the track better. It seems easier for me for some reason. The 20 won the spring race there last year, so I'm looking forward to getting up there as well.

Honestly, this year the way the season's been going and the way our cars have been performing, there's not a track or a week that I haven't looked forward to. I've been looking forward to every week.

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Chevrolet team defy the odds every week. Harvick won’t be back to Richard Childress Racing next year, but he certainly is making ways for all to remember him. His team tested at Pocono.

Hopefully it was a productive test. I know we ran a lot of miles and the track still has a lot of speed. Even with the new cars, it doesn’t have quite as much speed as years past. The asphalt has turned several shade of gray. It should be a fun race. The track took rubber and we didn’t have any tire issues or anything like that, so it should be a good weekend.

Racing the new Gen-6 car on the newly-paved track should bring challenges to drivers and teams. The same old Tricky Triangle will likely provide some exciting racing for fans.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Racetake.com. Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.


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