NASCAR & Auto Racing

Race Day at Pocono

A little more to chew on this Pocono race day:

Practice Update

Ku. Busch, Johnson stand out

Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson appear best prepared for Sunday's race based on Saturday's two Nextel Cup practice sessions. Busch, who starts second, led the first session. In the final session, Johnson led the way with a lap at 165.804 mph, followed by Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, Busch and David Gilliland.

Elevators

UP - DALE EARNHARDT JR.

If bonus points were awarded for confidence, Earnhardt Jr.'s spot in the Chase would be far more secure.

KURT BUSCH - UP

He has one mission from here on out: Beat the red car.

JIMMIE JOHNSON - DOWN

His four wins won't matter if he drops out of the Chase.

3 Things To Watch

1.

The June race at Pocono was cut short by rain. Will Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman still be up front after 500 miles, or will Denny Hamlin -- who swept both Pocono races last season -- play into the mix?

2.

When the Indianapolis race followed this one, several teams took their Pocono cars to the Brickyard. Since the races are reversed this season, Pocono should bode well for those who performed well at Indy like Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Gordon and Kyle Busch.

3.

You won't have to look past the front to see those trying to race their way into the Chase. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who clings to the 12th spot, starts on the pole. Kurt Busch, who is 13th in points, starts second and Newman, 14th in points, starts fourth.

Observer Picks

RYAN NEWMAN: Completes the job that rain halted in June.

Jim Utter

New partner evaluates Yates program

Robert Yates Racing isn't wasting any time trying to take advantage of its new partnership with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.Yates co-owner Doug Yates said marketing officials from Newman/Haas/Lanigan arrived Friday and planned to work all this week at the team's shop in Mooresville. Engineers should have also started evaluating Yates' program.

"It's going to take some analysis of what we have and (whether) they think we're in a good direction or not and how they can complement what we've been doing and improve upon it," he said. - Jim Utter

Stewart shoulders blame for Harvick incident

Stewart said he understands why Kevin Harvick was upset with him and the outcome of last Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Stewart and Harvick finally talked about the incident over the phone Friday night. Stewart made contact with Harvick's car in the final laps of the race as Stewart was racing to his second Brickyard victory.

"He should have run second. He had the second-best car for sure. I would have been upset if the roles were reversed, too. I can't blame him for that," Stewart said.

"I made a mistake. I let the car get too high. I've heard differences of opinions from people watching the tape, but I still take responsibility for it. I would never race Kevin like that on purpose."

Damage to Harvick's car slowed him, and he dropped to seventh at the finish. - Jim Utter

Briefly

 Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan and Brian Vickers are scheduled to participate in a Goodyear tire test Monday and Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The No. 43 Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte will honor the victims and those injured in the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

Just the Facts

Pennsylvania 500

WHERE: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday.

WEATHER: High near 80 and sunny.

TV: Coverage begins at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

RADIO: Motor Racing Network

RACE DISTANCE: 200 laps or 500 miles.

TRACK LENGTH: 2.5 miles

Saturday's Qualifying



Pos. No. Driver Car Speed
1. 8 D. Earnhardt Jr. Chevy 169.975
2. 2 Kurt Busch Dodge 169.863
3. 5 Kyle Busch Chevy 169.782
4. 12 Ryan Newman Dodge 169.738
5. 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge 169.587
6. 11 Denny Hamlin Chevy 169.501
7. 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevy 169.323
8. 25 Casey Mears Chevy 169.268
9. 42 J.P. Montoya Dodge 168.916
10. 41 Reed Sorenson Dodge 168.644
11. 24 Jeff Gordon Chevy 168.451
12. 16 Greg Biffle Ford 168.438
13. 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevy 168.300
14. 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge 168.237
15. 07 Clint Bowyer Chevy 168.070
16. 10 Scott Riggs Dodge 167.942
17. 96 Tony Raines Chevy 167.923
18. 31 Jeff Burton Chevy 167.917
19. 22 Dave Blaney Toyota 167.863
20. 88 Ricky Rudd Ford 167.788
21. 21 Bill Elliott Ford 167.785
22. 26 J. McMurray Ford 167.607
23. 29 Kevin Harvick Chevy 167.417
24. 20 Tony Stewart Chevy 167.324
25. 01 Mark Martin Chevy 167.258
Pos. No. Driver Car Speed
26. 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge 167.218
27. 18 J.J. Yeley Chevy 167.156
28. 83 Brian Vickers Toyota 167.053
29. 99 Carl Edwards Ford 167.035
30. 7 Robby Gordon Ford 166.942
31. 00 D. Reutimann Toyota 166.722
32. 66 Jeff Green Chevy 166.688
33. 38 David Gilliland Ford 166.586
34. 40 David Stremme Dodge 166.257
35. 15 Paul Menard Chevy 166.064
36. 6 David Ragan Ford 165.886
37. 17 Matt Kenseth Ford 165.767
38. 4 Ward Burton Chevy 165.596
39. 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota 165.584
40. 44 Dale Jarrett Toyota 165.578
41. 70 Johnny Sauter Chevy 165.560
42. 45 Kyle Petty Dodge OwnPts
43. 36 Jeremy Mayfield Toyota 165.542
    Failed to Qualify    
44. 49 Mike Bliss Dodge 165.496
45. 84 AJ Allmendinger Toyota 164.681
46. 37 Kevin Lepage Dodge 163.690
47. 78 Kenny Wallace Chevy 162.297.


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