NASCAR & Auto Racing

Race Rewind | Looking back at Pocono

Rear-View Mirror

Don't be completely surprised if Tony Stewart wins Watkins Glen. Jimmie Johnson was second at Chicagoland and won at Indy. Carl Edwards was second at Indy and won here. Stewart was second Sunday. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend.

This was a confusing race to follow with all of the varying pit strategies, and I am fairly well sure I couldn't have done any better myself in real time if I'd been on TV. But I have to say the ESPN folks, who're supposed to provide analysis to help the fan figure out what's going on, seemed to be making the same wild guesses that I would have been.

If Kevin Harvick makes the Chase this race will be a major reason why. He could have been hit by any one of about 20 cars when he spun on the first lap, but he hung in there and made the fuel strategy pay off at the end to wind up fourth.

Was there ever any doubt Kiefer Sutherland would nail the “Gentlemen start your engines!” command? I mean, he's Jack Bauer, for goodness sake.

DAVID POOLE

5 key moments

Lap 129

With the race under yellow for rain, Carl Edwards leads a group of the lead cars to pit road. They're banking that the rain is going to stop and the race will resume and go the distance. If it doesn't they've just messed up. If it does, it could be a winning decision.

Lap 162

Kurt Busch runs out of fuel while leading, signaling how close the calls were going to be the rest of the way. That gave the lead over to Edwards, who had worked his way by Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. back in the pack a bit.

Lap 166

Edwards and Tony Stewart make their final pit stops, coming in as soon as their teams thought they could make it from there to the end. They had to be right, and they had to have solid stops. That would wind up working out on both fronts.

Lap 187

Mark Martin, whose Chevrolet had been one of the strongest all day but who wound up on the wrong side of the pit strategy, comes to pit road for the final time, giving the lead over to Edwards. Martin would battle back to finish eight.

Lap 200

Edwards' No. 99 Ford has power as it comes off the final turn on the final lap. He and Stewart are still under power and finish 1-2. Johnson, who finishes third despite having to coast to the checkered flag, actually pitted a lap later than they did but ran out of fuel.

NEXT RACE

Centurion Boats at The Glen

Where: Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

TV: ESPN

Radio: Motor Racing Network

Last year's winner: Tony Stewart

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