Are we there yet? A phrase that is said by many kids on long road trips. Although in NASCAR, it has a little different meaning. In this sport, “Are we there yet” refers to are we at the finish, especially when it’s trying to stretch a fuel cell to the last drop.
At Pocono, that is not an uncommon thing, because whether at 400 miles or when the track ran 500 miles, it sometimes meant who had enough fuel to make it to the finish.
Having to wait a day to race thanks to rain just meant more time to crunch numbers, and possibly find out how long that fuel will go. Ironically, that is exactly how things would go for Monday’s race. One final pit stop, and one final rush to possibly either stretch it to the finish, or possibly running out on the final lap. The push to the end came down to three drivers, one of three knowing they could make it.
In the end, it was pushing in the clutch and coasting that gave enough fuel for Kurt Busch to make it to the end. His first win of the year came at the same location, in the same race, that owner Tony Stewart got the first win for the Stewart-Haas organization. Ironically, stretching fuel was how Smoke got that first win, meaning it is a true full-circle effort.
Unfortunately for the writers, it wasn’t their week for victory. There were some strong performances, but others wound up in the middle of the pack at the finish.
Here’s your standings after the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400:
Ashley McCubbin (467) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 2
Sal Sigala Jr. (442) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 2
Dustin Parks (420) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 1
Ashley Hull (412) Kyle Larson finished 11th – 6
Rob Blount (398) Joey Logano finished 5th – 2
Patti Rodisch (398) Martin Truex Jr. finished 19th – 2
Kara Martin (388) Kevin Harvick finished 9th – 1
Mary Jo Buchanan (375) Joey Logano finished 5th – 1
Klarissa Mitchell (352) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd – 1
Rob Tiongson (342) Chase Elliott finished 4th – 2
Misan Akuya (340) Denny Hamlin finished 14th – 2
Billy Fellin (333) Martin Truex Jr. finished 19th – 1
Ashley Hobbs (290) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 1
Stephen Conley (269) Jimmie Johnson finished 35th – 0
Next Race: This part of the schedule has a few tracks that are about speed, handling, and driver options. The next track literally has everything on that list.
Up next is a trip to a manufacturer hot bed, because the speedway is just outside the Motor City. It’s the Michigan International Speedway that will welcome NASCAR next week, along with a little bit of a tweak to the current aerodynamic package.
Writers, that certainly puts a slight wrinkle in the race, and I’m sure it will possibly effect your picks. Have those locked in by Thursday, June 9, at 10 p.m. EDT for the Firecracker Casino 400.