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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

OBSERVATIONS: Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway

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For those who wanted to hand over the trophy to either Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch, don’t do that yet. There is still more conversation to have about the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship. Just ask Martin Truex Jr.

While the pair mentioned above were the class of the field on Sunday in trading the top spot back and forth, Truex did not let them out of his sight, and it paid off. A timely caution for debris – and Busch, it wasn’t just a booty but rather metal if you ask Aric Almirola – worked out in his favor. He chose to stay out and used the track position to his advantage, holding off all contenders to score victory number two for 2018.

Kyle Larson used the same strategy to finish second after running in the top-five all day, while Busch’s choice to pit resulted in a third. He had some regret after the race in the decision, but recall last year staying out cost him the race. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t right? For Harvick, he got credited with a fourth ahead of Brad Keselowski.  

Other than maybe a surprise in seeing Busch and Harvick not win the event, the race was typical intermediate track style. Even cutting out a corner did nothing to improve the quality of racing that we’ve seen. Track position was vital, as the leaders did not endure a whole ton of passing, and like past years, you could have your Pocono Nap and wake up without missing much action – I did that myself twice today. The only person who was able to make passing to his advantage would be Chase Elliott, using 20-lap fresher rubber to come from 22nd to 10th in the final run to the end.

The broadcast was what you could expect, as well, with Darrell Waltrip sometimes over-explaining things that were happening for the fans. There was also the commercials that you’d expect. Who teases the fact that pit stops are about to start with strategy and take a break one minute later? 

The TV commentary was interesting in one factor, though. They talked about the battle for the championship on a continuous basis from start to finish, teasing how you will have Truex and Larson ready to contend with Harvick and Busch. It may seem pointless given we’re starting the summer stretch, and the playoffs don’t begin until September. However, if your fans expect the same faces winning, do you think they’re going to watch every week? Give hope for some others, and maybe you’ll keep them entertained, and even add some more in the weeks moving forward.

Also, Denny Hamlin isn’t making any friends with Hendrick Motorsports it may seem. He spun Elliott last year at Martinsville, got into Jimmie Johnson last weekend, and now wrecked with Alex Bowman at Pocono. Hamlin also skipped doing a post-race interview, as well. Something to think about – maybe.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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Ashley McCubbin

Currently the Executive Editor for Popular Speed, Ashley McCubbin also runs Short Track Musings, while handling media relations for OSCAAR. Currently living in Bradford, Ontario, she spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area taking photos.