Extra! Extra! Pocono Adds Mileage
Pocono Raceway is extending the show this year as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is now for 150 miles instead of its previous 125. The extra mileage won’t be too much of an added burden to the drivers’ stamina; three of the last four races have ended with a green/white checkered finish in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
The longest race at Pocono was in 2010 when Elliott Sadler won a 55 lap, 137.5 mile race. Sadler is one of four different winners in four races at the ‘Tricky Triangle.’
Five drivers in Saturday’s lineup have logged laps in all four races, but are still winless at Pocono – Norm Benning, Matt Crafton, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters.
Among drivers winless at Pocono, favorites include…
Matt Crafton: The only driver to start all four races and finish inside the top-ten in each race. He has an average finish of 5.8, the fifth highest among active drivers.
Ron Hornaday: Coming off a season-best second-place finish at Eldora Speedway, Hornaday looks to capitalize on a highest finish of sixth at Pocono last season.
Kyle Larson: Makes his first career-series start and second national series start at Pocono. He has raced the track once in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finishing fifth.
Possibility of a repeat winner still stands with Joey Coulter and Ryan Blaney entered…
Joey Coulter: Pocono is Coulter’s best track on the circuit. In three starts, he has an average finish of 3.7. He earned his first – and only – series win at Pocono in 2012 and has yet to finish outside the top-ten at the track.
Blaney Hits His Stride
Ryan Blaney has made it to the top … of the points standings that is.
In his second full-time season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Blaney leads the championship battle for the first time in his career after taking the points lead from defending champion Matt Crafton. With a string of six consecutive top-ten finishes, Blaney has catapulted from ninth to first in points, beginning with a runner-up finish at Dover in May. Now, it’s four points that separate him from second place driver Crafton.
Momentum on his side, Blaney looks to extend his lead Saturday, arriving at Pocono as the defending race winner. Although the Brad Keselowski Racing driver has yet to find Victory Lane this season, a win would further solidify him as a championship contender. What better track to prove a point than the site of his second career series win? Not only would Blaney be undefeated at Pocono in his two starts there, but he would also become the first repeat winner. Statement made.
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Teammates Erik Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr. packed another 1-2 punch at Eldora Speedway. A Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Jones earned his first career pole while Wallace proved the driver to beat, taking home the lauded dirt track trophy in his second win this season.
Just one race before at Iowa Speedway, it was a role reversal with Wallace on the pole and Jones in Victory Lane. The two drivers have helped Kyle Busch Motorsports to eight victories in ten races, also sharing wins with team owner Kyle Busch.
The duo of Jones and Wallace is back in action again at Pocono where Jones will make his first appearance while Wallace has one career start, finishing seventh in 2013. In its four-year history at Pocono, Kyle Busch Motorsports has earned four top-five and five top-ten finishes, including two runner-up finishes with Kasey Kahne (2010) and Kyle Busch (2011).
John Wes Townley Will Sit Out of Race after Accident in ARCA Racing Qualifying
John Wes Townley, went to a Pennsylvania hospital after an accident during ARCA Racing Series qualifying at Pocono Raceway. He is now released from hospital, but is not racing on Saturday.
Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer is his replacement driver in the No. 05 Zaxby’s Athenian Motorsports Toyota Tundra for the Pocono Mountains 150 race Saturday afternoon.
Townley is in good health but will sit out of competition for seven days as a precautionary measure. The Watkinsville, GA driver will be medically reevaluated in Charlotte early next week and hopes to compete at Berlin Speedway in the ARCA Series next Saturday.
Thirteen drivers in the Pocono Mountains 150 field have not made a series start at Pocono. History bodes well for the first-timers as three of the four race winners won in their first start at the track.