3 THINGS TO WATCH
1. Gordon II
Jeff Gordon will continue to sub for ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Pocono this weekend. After a 13th-place run at Indy, which knocked off some of his racing rust, Gordon may be a serious contender at the strangely-shaped Pocono course, where he scored six wins before his retirement. “I’m looking forward to going to Pocono,” said the four-time Cup champion.
2. Pocono package
Every year since Pocono Raceway got two Cup Series dates in 1982, those races have been only weeks apart, historically one date in June and another in July. So if it seems like stock cars were just racing at the 2.5-mile course, you are correct. The Cup series ran there on June 6, which was a little less than seven weeks ago. That race was run on a Monday after Sunday’s race was rained out.
It’s hard to believe, but there are only six regular-season races left on the NASCAR Cup Series calendar, and five more slots open in the Chase playoffs. What does it mean? It means we are in the “big squeeze” section of the schedule. There are two "wildcard" stops on the slate. The first is Watkins Glen, a road course, and the other is Darlington, nothing short of a madhouse where attrition could produce an upset winner.
Jeff Gordon got a refresher course at Indy from teammate Jimmie Johson. Gordon could be more of a factor at Pocono.