NASCAR Nationwide Series
Qualifying: Sat., 4:30 p.m. ET – ESPN2
Race: Sat. 7:30 p.m. EDT – ESPN2
NASCAR NATIONWIDE POINT STANDINGS
Unfortunately, due to last weekend’s penalty when Elliott Sadler beat Brad Keselowski (leader) to the start/finish line during the Indy 250, Sadler’s perch at the top of the standings shrunk after being black flagged.
Why exactly was Sadler black flagged?
During last Saturday’s Nationwide series race at Indy, Brad Keselowski, the race leader, hit the accelerator in the ‘prescribed zone’ designated for restarts. However, Keselowski’s teammate at Penske Racing, Sam Hornish Jr., attempted to push Keselowski. The nose of Hornish’s Dodge lifted the rear bumper of Keselowski’s car slightly causing him to spin his tires.
Sadler, who then was being pushed by his teammate at Richard Childress Racing, Austin Dillon, reached the yard of bricks, (start/finish line) as Sadler was slightly more than one car-length ahead of Keselowski.
When Sadler did not give up the lead to Keselowski voluntarily, NASCAR black-flagged Sadler’s No. 2 Chevrolet, forcing him to serve a pass-through penalty, costing him the race as well as the chance of winning the Dash 4 Cash Bonus of $100,000.
According to NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, NASCAR wanted to preserve an advantage for the race leader. Rules were designed “to help the driver who had the lead feel like he wasn’t losing all of his advantage when a caution comes out.” The leader has lane choice, the option of when to restart within the zone and the privilege of arriving first at the start/finish line.
A once-comfortable lead is now just one point ahead of his Sunoco Rookie teammate Austin Dillon. This weekend’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway is crucial for Sadler as a finish outside the top five could considerably shake up the points rankings.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Qualifying: Sat., 9:35 a.m. ET (not aired)
Race: Sat, 12:30 p.m. ET – SPEED
NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES POINT STANDINGS
When the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hits the pavement at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono Mountains 125 it will be the third time the series has competed at the 2.5-mile track, but the first time on the newly repaved surface. The new surface has potential to throw a wrench in the competition and shake up the championship hunt. However, statistics show the battle for the win could come down between the front runners in the points battle.
Three drivers inside the top-five in the championship standings – Timothy Peters, Justin Lofton and James Buescher – all have top-10 finishes at the famed Tricky Triangle. Peters increased his championship standings lead following Chicagoland to 23 points over Ty Dillon, Lofton, Buescher and Parker Kligerman.
Denny Hamlin remains the driver piloting the No. 18 KBM Toyota with Kyle Busch taking over the reins as team owner.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Practices: Noon / 3:30 pm ET Friday – SPEED
Qualifying: Sat., 10:30 a.m. ET – ESPN2
Race: Sun. 1:00 p.m. EDT – ESPN
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES POINT STANDINGS
Junior! Junior! Junior!
Dale Earnhardt Jr. officially last led the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings on Sept. 19, 2004 following a third-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He also led after the Oct. 3, 2004 race at Talladega Speedway, but lost the lead after a midweek penalty. Earnhardt made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ a year ago and finished seventh – his best points placing since a fifth in 2006. With a victory earlier this summer and 20 consecutive finishes on the lead lap Earnhardt and Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte have every reason to believe they’re solid championship contenders.
For 10 drivers vying for two “wild card” entries into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway has become a must-win affair. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch are the current “wild card” holders, drivers ranked 11th through 20th with the most wins. Kahne has two victories and Busch, who finished second to Jimmie Johnson at Indianapolis, prevails via tie-breaker over Ryan Newman and Joey Logano. Kahne, Newman and Logano all have Pocono victories – Logano won there when the series visited the 2.5-mile track in June. It’s not quite a last-chance situation for 2012 non-winners Carl Edwards (12th) and Jeff Gordon (15th) but the clock is ticking toward midnight. Gordon has won five times at the Pennsylvania track most recently in June 2011. Edwards won in 2005 and 2008.
Pocono Raceway’s June event could have been a preview of this year’s Chase with six of the current top-10 drivers finishing among the top 10 of the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR. Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson were the best-placed among the series’ elite finishing third and fourth respectively. Greg Biffle (24th) was the only member of the current top five outside the top 10. Biffle won Pocono’s late summer race in 2010. Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of this week’s event – the first of two August victories that propelled the Penske Racing driver into the Chase as a “wild card” qualifier.
June’s event was the first held since Pocono’s latest repaving. Logano won the Coors Light Pole award at a record 179.598 mph speed.
“Pocono Presidential Pick for $100,000”
Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky has confidently picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400, pledging $100,000 to a lucky fan should Junior go to Victory Lane. Fans must register at the track prior to the halfway point of the race at which time the potential winner’s name will be drawn at random.
Earnhardt has yet to win at Pocono finishing second in 2001 and 2007. He was eighth in June’s race. C’mon Junebug!!