A little more to chew on this Pocono race day:
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
RYAN NEWMAN: Completes the job that rain halted in June.
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
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
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
|1.||8||D. Earnhardt Jr.||Chevy||169.975|
|13.||1||Martin Truex Jr.||Chevy||168.300|
|Failed to Qualify|