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This weekend marks the first Xfinity Series race at Pocono. We can’t say we’ve got high hopes for the event. As we’ve said before, parity is not the Xfinity Series’ strong suit, so going to a track where horsepower is at a premium isn’t going to make things any better.
Pocono has three distinct turns (stop us if you’ve heard that before), but it compares most closely with Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And we all know how (not) great the Xfinity races at Indianapolis have been since the series moved there from Indianapolis Raceway Park in 2012.
Oh, Kyle Busch was fastest in first practice Thursday afternoon. Yeah, it’s going to be one of those afternoons. Go to the pool if the weather is nice. Record the race so you can fast-forward if necessary.
@NickBromberg why cant they just run the awesome short tracks like ORP or something like they used to. Loved that race
— Brannon Morton (@Brannon87) June 2, 2016
As someone who’s been to both IRP (now O’Reilly Raceway Park) and IMS, it’s clear facilities-wise why IMS has the race and IRP doesn’t. But damn, IRP is a fun track. And while the race at IMS probably makes NASCAR more money, it’s worth the financial hit (in our non-monetarily affected view) to have more races at tracks that have a good chance of putting on an entertaining race.
It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but Matt DiBenedetto’s great run at Bristol in the Cup Series this spring happened because it was at a short track. That type of run isn’t happening at Pocono on Sunday unless it’s a fuel mileage race, rain-shortened or something else crazy.
Oh, speaking of rain…
@NickBromberg So it’s gonna rain at Pocono? Shocker…
— Jarrell Perrin (@jarrellcperrin) June 2, 2016
The Yahoo Weather forecast says a 55 percent chance of rain on Sunday. Make your Sunday contingency plans now. It certainly feels like Pocono has a lot of rain and cloudy skies when NASCAR comes there, doesn’t it?
Is it best to watch the 24 hours of Pocono from a sitting or prone position to limit the chance of injury when you nod off? – J.
Hey, Pocono Cup races have been fantastic since they were shortened from 500 to 400 miles, though it could turn into a 24-hour affair if there’s a rain delay or three.
It’d be great if the even lower-downforce tweaks were in effect on Sunday, but the race should still be entertaining. And hey, Junior’s got a good chance of winning. A Junior win, no matter the fashion, makes it a great race for a hearty segment of the fanbase.
@NickBromberg What could you see from far away Kansas that changed at CMS from All-Stars to 600? And Smoke isn’t going to rise again, is he?
— Brian Cullather (@Briancullather) June 2, 2016
Brian quickly corrected himself and said Missouri because if he hadn’t he would have been banned from the mailbag for all eternity.
We saw Less passing in the corners, likely from a lack of throttle off time. We get why NASCAR wanted to have rule changes in the All-Star Race not stick around for the 600 so there would be a direct comparison. But watching the two races, it was pretty clear which one had more passing.
Granted, part of that could be the urgent nature of the All-Star Race/Showdown format vs. a 600-mile race. But NASCAR clearly wants to keep moving in a slower corner speed direction (see: Michigan and Kentucky changes.
And regarding Stewart, well, we’re waiting for a performance uptick. Though we’ve been waiting for a while for that. The longer the wait, the lesser the chance of it occurring is.
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