Who's ready to climb a mountain this weekend at Pocono?
We are back this weekend for our second trip of 2014 to the Tricky Triangle we all know as Pocono Raceway. I actually think we are going to see more of the same this weekend.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. performs a burnout after winning at Pocono Raceway on June 8.
Daniel Shirey / Getty Images North America
By Larry McReynolds
We are back this weekend for our second trip of 2014 to the Tricky Triangle we all know as Pocono Raceway. I actually think we are going to see more of the same this weekend. Take a look back at who ran well there in June. Obviously, like we always tell you, the setup and handling of the cars will be different because the track has been sitting there in the hot sun since we were last there.
I still believe you initially look at who ran well there in June and also who ran well at the Brickyard 400 last Sunday. The reason I say that is because there is a lot of similarity between Pocono and Indianapolis. So you have to think right out of the box it will be the Hendrick brigade leading the way. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Pocono in June, and Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400 last Sunday.
The other Hendrick driver to consider has to be Kasey Kahne, too. Kasey ran extremely well last weekend and even though it was a different rules package then, don't forget that Kasey won the Pocono race a year ago.
One group I am really going to be keeping my eye on this weekend is Joe Gibbs Racing. I am not going to go as far out on a limb as to call them a favorite, but there has been some solid improvement over there in these last eight or nine weeks. They finished second, third and fourth last Sunday in the Brickyard 400. Matt Kenseth had speed all weekend long. Kyle Busch has finished second in three out of our past four races.
Matt is sitting fourth in the points. Kyle is sitting sixth in the points and Denny Hamlin is sitting 21st points after this week's 75-point penalty against the No. 11 team. So while I can't call them a favorite at Pocono just yet, I am going to have my eyes on them from the minute they unload on Friday.
With all that said, I'm not going to be the least bit surprised to see a Hendrick driver or a Penske driver win this weekend. Brad Keselowski ran really strong there in June, plus he and his teammate, Joey Logano, have both won there.