THE LEFT TURN
NASCAR visits Pocono Raceway for a doubleheader this weekend
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Tricky Triangle this week for a doubleheader. The rules of last season will apply to this season as well as there will be two races, one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday afternoon. Also the inversion rule will apply as well as the first place car on Saturday will swap places with the twentieth place car starting on the pole for Sunday's race. This will be the first time that Pocono has hosted fans since 2019, so it will certainly be a delight to have a full house back at the races.
Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning his third race in a row at Nashville. It seems like there is no one that can stop him as he has not only won but led the most laps in all three of his wins. He continues to send a message that he is the class of the field.
While Larson was in his own zip code, there were a few drivers that were not so lucky, some of those drivers being the Penske teammates of Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. Overall while Blaney showed speed early, a brake issue put him in the wall ending his day. Keselowski on the other hand was just slow all throughout the day. While Joey Logano was able to salvage a decent tenth place finish, it was a forgettable day for the Penske Fords. It seems like they have been off the pace lately, while yes no one has had anything for Larson and the Hendrick cars, it seems like they are a step behind. While all three are locked into the playoffs, they will definitely need to pick up the pace.
The big headline this week was the addition of Kaulig Racing for 2022. Their current Xfinity drivers, Justin Haley and AJ Allmendinger will be promoted with Haley running full-time and Allmendinger running select races. This is certainly another great sign for the sport as it continues to grow. The team will purchase both their charters from Spire Motorsports. With this acquisition, newly formed Trackhouse racing will lose their charter and become an open team. Even though not much will change on the surface for this team, there will be a big discrepancy in revenue. Team owner Justin Marks stated that nothing will change next season and they will continue to run full time. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the course of the next few weeks.
As I mentioned earlier, Kyle Larson is in the midst of one of the most dominant stretches that we have seen in quite some time. He will be heavily favored this week, but he will have his work cut out for him if he wants to win four in a row as this track has been one where he hasn't had the best results. In his past three races here, he has finished outside of the top twenty twice. There is a silver lining though, in his last start here two seasons ago he was able to score a solid fifth place finish, and a runner-up finish one year earlier. Look for him to be in contention to win one if not both races this weekend.
The drivers that I have winning this weekend are Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Both of these drivers have a winning pedigree here, as they both have a combined four victories. They also have the advantage of a good track position on Saturday, as they both start third and fifth. Both drivers have a lot of good momentum going into this week. Busch has been the only guy who can keep with Larson, and Harvick is coming off a top five last week. Look for both drivers to be fast this weekend.