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Virtual Pit Reporter: Updates on 25 Cup teams

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1) Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Gordon is looking to sweep both races at Pocono when the series returns Sunday. In June, Gordon stayed on the track during a lap 63 caution while many of the leaders pitted for fuel. While he led the next 16 laps, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion relinquished the lead on lap 82 when he was forced to stop for fuel. One by one the other drivers stopped for fuel, and Gordon inherited the lead just before the halfway mark -- the point of the race where an event becomes official if it must be stopped because of inclement weather. When the rain began a few laps later, Gordon was just ahead of a hard-charging Ryan Newman as the caution waved. "We had a good car here last time, but a little bit of luck never hurts," Gordon said. "We pitted off sequence knowing everybody else would have to stop for fuel before the halfway mark. Luckily, the rain came when it did because it was going to be tough to hold off Ryan. That calculated risk -- or maybe you could call it a gamble -- certainly paid off." Gordon has four wins, two poles, 14 top-fives and 20 top-10s in 29 starts at Pocono and has led 870 laps, including 164 of 200 in a 1998 win there. "Although we had a good car here in June, we're actually using a different car -- the one we ran last Sunday at Indianapolis -- this weekend," Gordon said. "Hopefully it'll be even better. It's certainly a gamble we can afford to take."
  • Last week: Gordon finished third in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard as he attempted to become the first five-time winner of the race.
  • Etc.: "Have No Fear," the canine hero from Walt Disney Pictures' new movie "Underdog," is on the hood of The Jeff Gordon Foundation No. 24 car. Diecast models and officially licensed merchandise of the Underdog car will be available for sale at trackside merchandise trailers and available in the fall through the MA Dealer Network, online at www.goracing.com or at The Jeff Gordon Foundation store at www.jeffgordonfoundation.org.

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    2) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Hamlin swept both races at Pocono in his rookie season last year but finished sixth in the rain-shortened race in June.
  • Last week: Hamlin finished 22nd at the Brickyard, one lap down to the leaders, after dodging several on-track incidents. He is a whopping 371 points out of the lead and probably can't wait until the points get reset at the start of the Chase for the Championship. "We just were a little short on fuel," Hamlin said. "We didn't think we were stretching it. Once we ran out I just could not get the thing very far. That pretty much ended our day. ... We should have played it a little more conservative there. You know, we preach about being more aggressive, but we didn't need to stretch it right there."
  • Etc.: Hamlin said he was happy to see teammate Tony Stewart win at both Chicagoland and Indianapolis. "Well they're on a roll right now," Hamlin said. "Things are working good for them and their capitalizing and they're getting cautions when it counts and they're doing things that are putting them in position to win races, and that's what we're not doing right now," Hamlin said.

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    3) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Kenseth is looking for his first victory at Pocono. He has three top-fives and seven top-10s in 15 previous Pocono starts, including a ninth-place finish in June. Kenseth has led only 26 laps in 15 races at Pocono, the lowest total number of laps led at any track where Kenseth has nine or more starts. "Bouncing back at a place like Pocono, which has really been one of our tougher tracks, would go a long ways toward gaining some momentum in this stretch run leading up to the Chase," Kenseth said.
  • Last week: Kenseth finished 10th at Indianapolis, best among the Fords. "We sure didn't run like a top-10 car," Kenseth said. "It was pretty frustrating all weekend. We unloaded pretty good, but it just went downhill from there. We had high hopes going into the weekend, and struggling to finish 10th wasn't anywhere near what we had in mind."
  • Etc.: Last season Kenseth had two victories and a second-place finish in four August races. In 2005, Kenseth posted one win and three top-fives in August.

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    4) Jeff Burton, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Burton is another driver looking for his first victory at Pocono, where he has six top-fives and 13 top-10s in 27 starts. He finished 13th there in June. "The fun thing about Pocono and the difficult thing is that every corner is different," Burton said. "You have to be good in every corner and you can't sacrifice anything anywhere. Pocono is a very demanding race track physically and very demanding race track mentally. It's one of our toughest tests we have all year. Going into turn one, you have to be careful not to get in too far. If you do, you tend not to be able to get in the groove you want to be in. You need to accelerate through the middle as quickly as you can. There's a big bump in the middle of turn one that causes some big problems, so you need to be able to run around that or have a good package that you can run through it. The Tunnel Turn is a very aggressive turn. You drive in there really, really deep and get back on the throttle really, really quick. Turn three is a long, sweeping corner that if you're not careful, you can overdrive it and get your car messed up. It's three totally different mindsets for three totally different corners."
  • Last week: Burton was able to forge through for an eighth-place finish at the Brickyard but was never really a threat for the victory. "As we were going through the race, we got tight," Burton said. "We put a set of tires on that just didn't agree with us. I am just missing something here at this track. I am just not giving them the information that they need."
  • Etc.: Car chief Darin Nestlerode grew up in Jersey Shore, Pa. In addition to his mechanic duties on the No. 31 AT&T Chevrolet, Nestlerode also holds the sign board in the pit box on race day.

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    5) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Stewart is living up to his reputation as a second-half driver. He goes for three straight victories in Cup races this weekend at Pocono, where he has won once, in June 2003. Stewart has five top-fives and 12 top-10s in 17 Pocono races. He finished fifth there in June.
  • Last week: The Columbus, Ind., native dominated the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, leading seven times for 65 laps to win for the second time at his beloved Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart's first Brickyard victory in 2005 was dramatic, but his second one Sunday was dominant. "We had the fastest car today," Stewart said simply. "I think I'll enjoy this one more than the first one. The first one was just like taking the weight of the world off your shoulders. When you grow up 45 miles from here, there was a period of my life when I was driving a wrecker for a living, I was driving down 16th Street and Georgetown Road (site of the Speedway) thinking, 'Man, what would it be like to be 150 yards inside of that fence running 200 miles an hour?'"
  • Etc.: Stewart was fined $25,000 and docked 25 points for his use of an off-color term on national television following his Brickyard win. When asked about it later, Stewart said, "It's a little late to be concerned about it now, isn't it? It pretty much is what it is. Whatever happens, they still can't take this trophy away from me today."

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    6) Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Edwards won at Pocono in June 2005. He has two top-fives and two top-10s in five Pocono starts and finished 14th there in June. "I feel like over the past several weeks our team has made some great improvements, and I'm really proud of my Office Depot team," he said. "We certainly have what it takes to run well (at Pocono), even though we struggled some at Pocono on our last visit."
  • Last week: Edwards was a victim of the big pileup on lap 47 at the Brickyard. He finished. 18th but was on the lead lap.
  • Etc.: After dislocating his thumb in a dirt-track race two weekends ago, Edwards wore a protective brace on his right hand that protected it in both the Busch race Saturday night and the Allstate 400 on Sunday. "It's just been a long week of trying to make sure that was all going to be good, but it looks like everything is going to be fine," Edwards said. "They built me a nice little brace, and I sat in a car -- I don't think there's going to be any trouble there. I'm definitely excited about the race. We've got a new body on the car, some new stuff we haven't run before, and I'm pretty excited. Hopefully it works. You never know, it could be bad, but I think it's going to be pretty good." Because Edwards drives high-speed race cars, he is prohibited from taking pain medication because it would dull his senses and impair his response time. So he just has to tough it out. "It's really not that painful," Edwards said. "The worst part about what happened there was just looking down and seeing my thumb in kind of a different position than I'd ever seen it before. So that was a little bit nerve-wracking, but once we got to the hospital, they told me it was no big deal, it wasn't broken. As long as I keep it in place, it'll be fine. I'm definitely not taking anything for the pain, but it really doesn't hurt that bad. It could've been a lot worse. It's really pretty straightforward -- small injury, no big deal." ... Edwards takes an 852-point lead into the Busch Series race Saturday at Circuit Giles Villeneuve in Montreal.

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    7) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Harvick, who finished 11th at Pocono in June, has yet to win a Pocono race and has just one top-five and four top-10s in 13 starts there. "For me, the trickiest part of Pocono is the Tunnel Turn," he said. "You have to carry so much speed into that turn that there is not much room for error. The Tunnel Turn is so much harder to get through now then it used to be. A couple of years ago there was a flat curb there and you could lean on it a little bit if you needed to. Now there is a big curb there, and if you hit it you're going to damage the skirting on the left-front. You will probably be forced up the race track as well, and the chances of hitting the wall are pretty high."
  • Last week: Harvick nearly beat Tony Stewart in the race to become a two-time Brickyard winner but he was muscled out of the way by Stewart with 10 laps to go in the decisive part of the race. Harvick faded at the end and finished seventh. "It was good racing until I got the left front fender caved in," Harvick said. "He (Stewart) didn't quite give us enough room."
  • Etc.: Harvick will be another driver who will spend time waiting to clear customs on his way to this weekend's Busch Series race at Montreal. "I really enjoy road-course events, and it will also help me improve my road-course skills for next weekend at Watkins Glen," he said. "I also think racing in Montreal is going to be really good for the sport. We already have a lot of Canadians that follow NASCAR, and hopefully with this event we will attract a lot more fans."

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    8) Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Busch finished eight at Pocono in June. He has no wins, one top-five and two top-10s in five Pocono starts.
  • Last week: Even though Busch feels like the "outsider" at Hendrick Motorsports with his departure looming at the end of the season, he continued his string of impressive finishes with a fourth place at Indianapolis. "We had a great day," Busch said. "We had to come down and take tires, and it was just too hard to come back up through there. But awesome, awesome car all day long."
  • Etc.: Busch admits he has to do his part to try to get along with his current team in his waning days at Hendrick. "Actually, I have started a lot of it myself," Busch said. "I have made a lot of mistakes and opened up my mouth too much. Yesterday, we had our team meeting and after it was over, I went ahead and made an apology to my teammates and my crew chief for my comments two weeks ago at Chicago. It has just been a difficult time and everything just feels like it is more under a microscope, and when you don't have things quite go your way or go the right way, you tend to think it is because they are not helping you or wanting to help you because you aren't going to be there. But that is completely untrue. It is going to continue to make them better and going to continue to make me better to work together and be friends now and after I leave. I would like to be able to go to them and ask for advice and be friends with them."

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    9) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Johnson finished 42nd at Pocono in June in one of his worst races of the season. He swept both Pocono races in 2004 for his only trips to Victory Lane there. He has three top-fives and six top-10s in 11 Pocono starts. "The next few races are good tracks for us, Pocono being one of them," Johnson said. "It just seems like when you get the monkey on your back it's hard to get him off."
  • Last week: The defending Brickyard winner was involved in two crashes at Indy, including a fiery slam against the second-turn wall on lap 62 that forced him to scramble out of the car after his eyelashes were singed. He finished 39th one year after winning the Brickyard. "That's the first time I've had flames inside the car," Johnson said. "And at that point you just want to get the car stopped and I'm considering turning the belts loose, but I've got cars flying by me on both sides. Finally, I got into the grass without anybody getting into me, and I came out of the car."
  • Etc.: There are six races before the top 12 drivers will participate in the 10-race Chase for the Championship. Under its new rules in 2007, all Chase participants' driver points are reset to 5,000 then drivers are rewarded 10 additional points for each victory. That means that if the Chase were to start today, Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon would be tied for the lead with 5,040 points because each owns four victories -- two more than any other driver. "It certainly looks like I'll be a big beneficiary of it (resetting the points) and with the way that it is, I'll take that forgiveness the way the point system is structured right now and try to capitalize on it," Johnson said. "But when you look at Jeff's (Gordon) point situation and how strong he has been, deep down inside there is still a part of me that says, 'Man, the guy's had a great year and deserves to be the champion, and to have it re-racked with everybody on top of him again probably isn't fair.' But it's the way it is. The Chase does a lot of positive things for our sport. I'm in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. So you deal with the situation, as it exists."

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    10) Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: When Bowyer finished 10th at Pocono in June, it was his first top-10 in three career starts there. "I definitely feel more comfortable now (at Pocono) than I did a year ago or even in June, for that matter," Bowyer said. "It just took me awhile to get comfortable, get a rhythm and get the hang of the race track. I'm finally more comfortable with the surroundings at Pocono."
  • Last week: Bowyer finished 13th at Indy.
  • Etc.: Bowyer said he'll be more conservative, if necessary, to make sure he qualifies for the Chase. "The way we're running gives us confidence," Bowyer said. "Points-wise, we're OK right now, but we could be back in the red in a hurry with one little slip. We just have to cover all of our bases. Obviously, we're here to win races, but we have to take care of business and keep working on top-10s. Hopefully we can knock on the door for some more top-fives and stay in this thing. We're at a point now where, if we have a 10th-place race car, we need to finish 10th with it instead trying to coax more out of it and having something bad happen."

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    11) Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Chevrolet, DEI
  • This week: Truex finished third at Pocono in June, and he will be driving the same car this weekend. "One of the guys called her 'the workhorse' because we've also used it at Michigan (finished second), Chicago and Indy, and I'm sure we'll use her some more after this weekend," said Truex. "It's been pretty good to us, so we're going to stick with her."
  • Last week: Truex had to overcome a pit-road speeding penalty and a one-lap penalty for running the stop sign at the end of pit road to finish 12th at Indy and strengthen his hold on the 11th spot in the standings. "Considering all that happened to us, we'll take 12th and be happy," said Truex, who is 118 points ahead of 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • Etc.: Truex is elated that Mark Martin is now a teammate. "He's going to be a great asset for our whole organization," said Truex. "The amount of knowledge he's got is incredible, and I look forward to tapping into that. I'm looking forward to learning things from him in the future."

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    12) Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, DEI
  • This week: Earnhardt has only four top-10 finishes in 15 starts at Pocono but believes he had a top-10 car there in June if the race hadn't been shortened to 106 laps by rain. "We're taking the same car we raced at Indy, so I'm excited that we're going in with a car that is obviously fast," said Earnhardt, who ended up 12th in June.
  • Last week: Earnhardt led twice at Indy for 33 laps during the first half of the race and was running fifth when he encountered engine problems with only 24 laps remaining. As a result, he finished 34th. "We had a super car and another freak thing bit us," said Earnhardt. "It's happened all season, and it's a trend I'd like to change."
  • Etc.: Earnhardt said he is "happy for DEI" after it was announced that the company his father founded is merging with Ginn Racing. "It looks like they're kind of going in a new direction, which is good," he said. "The chance to be teammates with Mark (Martin) is going to be cool. It's going to be a lot of fun working with him for the rest of the season, and he can probably help me figure out what we need to do to get to Victory Lane."

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    13) Kurt Busch, No. 2 Dodge, Penske Racing
  • This week: Busch has one win and four second-place finishes in 13 starts at Pocono. Crew chief Pat Tryson said the team has a "lot of faith" in the car Busch will drive this weekend. "It's the car Kurt dominated the first third of the Coke 600 with," said Tryson. "We've gone back and completely redone it for this race, and we're confident it'll be a perfect fit for him this weekend."
  • Last week: Busch rallied to finish 11th at Indy to move to 13th place in the standings. He is only 13 points out of the top 12. Crew chief Pat Tryson admitted, "It was kind of struggle all day. We overcame a lot of stuff today, and that is what good teams do is make the most of out a bad day."
  • Etc.: Tryson said of going to Pocono, "Kurt is one of the best flat-track racers in our sport, and we're super excited to be headed back to another flat track this weekend. Kurt's dominated races at Loudon. He's won at Phoenix. He probably could have won another four or five races at Pocono. He has such great finesse on these tracks when he has good cars under him."

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    14) Ryan Newman, No. 12 Dodge, Penske Racing
  • This week: Newman was in the midst of trying to pass Jeff Gordon for the lead when the rains came in June at Pocono. When the race was called after only 106 laps, Newman ended up second. He will be driving the same car, which also won the pole for the June race.
  • Last week: Newman spun and slammed into the fourth-turn wall on lap 20 of the 160-lap Brickyard event and finished 42nd to drop to 14th in the standings. "I just got hit in the left rear quarter panel," said Newman. "(David) Stremme tried sticking it underneath me when he shouldn't have and spun us around. We took a pretty good lick."
  • Etc.: Newman knows he was "very fortunate at Indy to have only lost a little ground to the 12th-place driver (Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who finished 34th after suffering engine failure)." Newman trails Earnhardt by 49 points with only six races left until the Chase. Newman had pulled to within 30 points of 12th place before Indy.

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    15) Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: McMurray has two top-10 finishes in nine starts at Pocono. He finished 29th in the June event at the track. "Last time I thought we had a pretty good car going into the weekend, but when we put the car on the track, it didn't perform like we thought it would," said McMurray. "We've made a lot of changes for this trip back to Pocono."
  • Last week: McMurray's chances of earning a spot in this year's Chase took a hit at Indy as he finished 33rd after being caught up in a seven-car accident on lap 46. McMurray is 113 points out of the top 12. "The 11 (Denny Hamlin) just tried to make it three-wide, and it didn't work," said McMurray. "It was just a case of racing a little too hard, too early."
  • Etc.: Crew chief Larry Carter said the changes in the Pocono car included replacing the right-front fender and making a lot of chassis adjustments.

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    16) Greg Biffle, No. 21 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Pocono has not been one of Biffle's better tracks. He has only two top-10 finishes in his nine starts there. Biffle will be driving the car that he ran earlier this year in the All-Star race. "The body is similar to the one we ran last weekend at Indy and it had good wind-tunnel numbers, so we feel confident in taking it to Pocono," said crew chief Greg Erwin.
  • Last week: After finishing 15th at Indy, Biffle said of his car, "It just wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. It was real, real bad around other cars. After two laps it would be so loose I thought I had a flat tire. The next two laps it was pushing so bad I couldn't drive it. And I don't understand why. It's just mind-boggling."
  • Etc.: Over the last three weeks, Biffle has gained 171 points in his bid to qualify for the Chase but is still 128 points out of 12th place with only six races remaining until the Chase begins.

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    17) Mark Martin, No. 01 Chevrolet, Ginn Racing
  • This week: Martin has finished second six times at Pocono and third four times. His 19 top-five finishes there are the most by any driver. Yet he is still looking for his first win at the track. "It is hard to believe that we've never won there with all the success that we've had there over the years," said Martin.
  • Last week: Martin overcame a broken gear and a speeding penalty on pit road to finish sixth at Indy. It was his third straight top-10 finish at the track and his ninth in 14 starts there. "I just want to thank Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports -- I've never had a motor that ran like that in my whole life," said Martin. "We had to fight back from some adversity, and I am really pleased with the finish."
  • Etc.: Martin admits, "It has been a crazy couple of weeks with the merger of Ginn Racing and DEI, but now it's really time to put all that behind us, look to the future and get down to the business of winning races. I know this team can do it, we just have to put it all together and finish the job." Martin's last win came at Kansas on Oct. 9, 2005, 62 races ago.

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    18) Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Montoya finished 20th in his first Cup start at Pocono. He knows he needs another run like he had at Indianapolis to keep alive any hopes he has of making the Chase. He will be driving the same car that finished second at Indy.
  • Last week: In his first stock car race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Montoya was impressive as he ran down and passed Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick in the final 10 laps to finish second. "A second here in the Brickyard is a big accomplishment," Montoya said after his best finish on an oval as moved from 20th to 18th in the standings.
  • Etc.: Montoya, who is 200 points out of 12th place with only six races left until the Chase, knows the odds are against him in his bid to earn a spot in this year's championship battle. "If you could get this type of finish (top five) for the next three races, then you have a chance," said Montoya. "But if you have an average finish (at Pocono), then you're out (of the hunt)."

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    19) Casey Mears, No. 25 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Mears finished fourth in the June event at Pocono. He will be driving the car that was run earlier this year at Atlanta, but it will have a brand new body. "I feel good about the tracks coming up on the schedule," said Mears. "This is definitely an opportunity for us to have a good stretch and make up some points." He is 238 points out of the top 12.
  • Last week: Mears admitted he triggered the four-car accident on lap 54 at Indy. "I was tucked up so close behind the 43 (Bobby Labonte) that when I went to get on the brakes to make the corner (turn three), I just went straight," said Mears, who ended up 35th. "I ended up getting into the side of the 70 (Johnny Sauter). It was definitely my fault, and I hate that."
  • Etc.: Mears believes turn three at Pocono is the "most crucial" in a team's bid to find the right chassis setup. "I've worked on turn one a lot in the past, trying to get faster there because that's a place you can pass, but, really, a lot of your speed comes from turn three," he said.

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    20) Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Dodge, Petty Enterprises
  • This week: Labonte has finished eighth in the last two Pennsylvania 500s at Pocono. He has posted three wins at the track, the last one coming on July 29, 2001. "It has been an up-and-down year for us so far," said Labonte. "Pocono is a good track for us to go to right now ... it has been a good track for us."
  • Last week: Labonte finished 19th at Indianapolis. "We feel pretty good about our performance, though we don't feel good about the end result," said crew chief Paul Andrews. "We did not do any tires at the end, and we hurt ourselves by several positions. We've made progress, but we could make some more."
  • Etc.: Labonte said the team has made some changes to its cars in recent weeks. "We've tested more and we're still searching and testing to get better," he said. "We aren't pleased with top-20 finishes (he has 12 in 2007 but only one top-10 finish). That is why we are still working to find the right combination to get back in the top 10."

    21) J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Yeley has finished in the top 17 in his three starts at Pocono. He will be driving a new car this weekend. "We ran decent there (in June)," said Yeley. "I was really trying to take care of the car -- to run 15th to 17th most of the day at 80 percent was a good sign (for this weekend)."
  • Last week: Yeley was in the wrong place at the wrong time as he got caught up in the eight-car accident only 46 laps into the Allstate 400. As a result, Yeley ended up 36th to fall out of the top 20 in the standings. "I thought we had the wreck dodged, and the 7 car (Robby Gordon) just ran me over and stuck me into the fence," Yeley said. "It's one thing to be caught up in a wreck because you had nowhere to go, but to have time to slow up and get run over is hard to take."
  • Etc.: Yeley said the races at Pocono "are the longest races of the year. It feels longer than the Coca-Cola 600. I wish they would shorten the race by about 200 miles. I think it would make the racing a little more exciting."

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    22) David Ragan, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Ragan finished 26th in his Pocono debut. "Pocono is very different from other 2.5-mile tracks," said the rookie driver. "The corners are a lot tighter and you get a lot of speed on the straightaways heading into those corners, which means you have to get on the brakes a lot harder and know when to brake."
  • Last week: Ragan finished 16th in his first start at Indy. "It was a decent day, picked up few points," said Ragan, who is 93 points out of the top 20. "We've just got to keep battling and getting better. We've still just got to keep on working on downforce stuff, keep improving."
  • Etc.: Crew chief Jimmy Fennig believes that Ragan is "capable of going to these tracks for the second time this year and bringing home at least a top-10. Our main goal right now is to continue to move up in the points."

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    23) Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Dodge, Evernham Motorsports
  • This week: Sadler has only two top-10 finishes in 17 starts at Pocono. His best finish in the last five races there is 16th. "Data from other tracks doesn't provide that much help at Pocono because it is so different -- the long straightaway and the three turns are totally different," said Sadler.
  • Last week: Sadler recovered from an early accident at Indy to finish 28th. "The adjustments we were making were helping, but after the accident (on lap 54) we had to make repairs just to keep the car on the track," said Sadler. "It's disappointing. We though we could be competitive. I just wasn't able to stay out of the (multi-car) accident."
  • Etc.: Car owner Ray Evernham said his entire organization has been "basing a lot of our decisions off information that was not correct." He said a change in software earlier this season caused the problem. "We basically have spent half a year trying to build a foundation that didn't exist," he added.

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    24) Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Sorenson has not fared well at Pocono -- his 24th-place finish in June is his best finish in three starts at the track. But because of how well he ran at Indy, Sorenson believes a top-10 run is a real possibility this weekend. "Normally if you run well at Indy, you run well at Pocono because they are so similar," said Sorenson.
  • Last week: After winning the first pole position of his career and leading the first 16 laps of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Sorenson ran into handling problems and dropped out of the top 10. But he rallied in the final 60 laps to finish fifth for his second top-five finish of the season. "We got the pole at the Brickyard and then finished top-five, so we're pretty happy right now," Sorenson said.
  • Etc.: Sorenson, 21, became the youngest driver to ever win a pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a record that had stood for 72 years. Rex Mays won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 in 1935 at the age of 22.

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    35) Dave Blaney, No. 22 Toyota, Bill Davis Racing
  • This week: Blaney has scored two top-10 finishes in 15 starts at Pocono. He will be driving the same car that he drove to a ninth-place finish at Indy. "Hopefully we can keep our momentum alive and get ourselves another good finish so we can pad our position (in the car owner standings) a bit, and we never have to go through another Friday feeling like we have for the last 15 races," he said. "The stress (to qualify) involved is just unbelievable."
  • Last week: Blaney was the top-finishing Toyota driver at Indy. His ninth-place finish was his first top-10 finish of the season. "This was a really good run for the Caterpillar Camary," said Blaney. "We were as good, if not better, than any other cars that I was around out there today. This was a brand new car, and that run really shows how strong our program is getting."
  • Etc.: The top-10 finish at Indy allowed Blaney to move up to 36th in the all-important car owner point standings. With the 13 car team (Joe Nemechek) no longer competing, Blaney will be locked into the top 35 in points and guaranteed a starting spot in this weekend's race. "There's a big weight off our shoulders knowing that we're locked in this weekend, said Blaney.

  • Go back to the top

    Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Reed Sorenson, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bobby Labonte, Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray

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