Friday, August 1, 2014

Grab the Popcorn: Five Questions for Pocono/Iowa

Photo credit: NASCAR via Getty Images
It's been a big week for announcements. First, we got the official word that Carl Edwards wouldn't be heading up the Roush-Fenway stable after this season. Then we learned Denny Hamlin's car failed post-race inspection at Indianpolis which lead to a hefty fine that includes a six-race suspension for crew chief Darian Grubb. After months of speculation, Dale Earnhardt Jr's crew chief for 2015 was announced. Even Mark Martin made the news this week with a deal that sends him back to the place where his career got started. Martin will join Roush-Fenway racing as a driver development coach.

With only six races to go before The Chase field is set, it's time to put the off-track news on the back burner and focus on The Tricky Triangle. Here's what's on my mind headed into the weekend.

With Ives to Cup in 2015, will Elliott’s performance falter? It was announced earlier this week that Greg Ives will replace Steve Letarte on the pit box next year. With Letarte going into broadcasting for NBC, Ives will move from the No. 9 at JR Motorsports to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team. His background includes being the lead engineer during five of Jimmie Johnson’s six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. With this on next year’s repertoire, how will the looming future affect his sparkling performance with young Chase Elliott? Things will continue as they are, but Ives may let his thoughts stray from time to time.

Does June Bug repeat in July? Speaking of the driver of the No. 88, he's on course for his best season in recent history. This weekend, action is returning to Pocono Raceway, where he captured his second win of the season. Can he do it again? It helps that Hendrick Motorsports has won the last four Pocono races, but does that also mean he’s in trouble? With how The Brickyard 400 panned out, it might be smart to not only watch Jeff Gordon but also Kasey Kahne. The No. 5’s close call Sunday is a sure-fire way to push them further. They’ll have to outrun Earnhardt Jr. if they want to head to victory lane.

Can’t the NCWTS race somewhere else? Not only is the top-tier at Pocono, but the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races there Saturday afternoon . . .and no one is excited. Look, the Trucks are the best form of racing around. We all know it’s true. They should be racing somewhere thrilling. I’m not happy the series visits Pocono twice anyway (but that’s for another post). I guess they need a mundane stop after tearing up Eldora Speedway.

Does Brickyard win spell ‘CHAMPIONSHIP’ for No. 24 team? Gordon’s 90th win brought attention to the stout No. 24 team, and talk quickly turned to a fifth title for the Wonder Boy. If there’s a time for this talk, it’s now; the fire is back in his eyes. He has his family and his fortune, and now he’s got his focus back. Five times, the winner of The Brickyard has went on to win it all. Will that statistic turn into six?

Is it just me, or is this whole Carl Edwards deal weird? The morning before The Brickyard, Roush Fenway Racing’s owner Jack Roush addressed the media and revealed Edwards won’t be back in 2015. This was known, yet the timing seemed off; why make this big announcement the morning of an even bigger race? Everything feels weird, and Roush acted unprofessionally. The organization must be upset they’re losing Edwards (who can blame them?), but that’s no reason to act out in such a rude way. It’s unnerving for a classy guy to stoop so low. Anyway, it just bothers me, yet it makes me wonder what’s going to happen next. Grab the popcorn!

0 comments :

Post a Comment