Heading to Pocono was refreshing. After a tough week in Indianapolis last week, I was completely focused on the next race ahead. Now Pocono is a fun, unique race track. This track is a long 2.5 mile track that has three completely different turns which is why it’s nickname is the tricky triangle. Preparing for this race I was pumped because of some of the great runs I have had at Pocono.
The garages open on Friday and the teams were given one practice session before heading to qualifying later that afternoon. This is a very typical schedule for the Sprint Cup Series but this forces us to really try to fine tune our race cars quickly so that we can lay down a good qualifying lap for Sunday’s race. We had to serve a time penalty from last week which cost us some of the valuable practice that we needed. The car that we brought to Pocono is the same car that we raced at Indy which is our backup car. This week we had much more time to prepare it for the track but we really needed some on track laps to really dial it in.
So with not being able to run all the practice that we wanted we decided to run the qualifying session in race trim. For those who wonder why we do did this was because it basically gives us another “practice session” to dial our race car in. This would force us to start 43rd but with how long these races are, that didn’t concern us. The following Day on Saturday we had two practice sessions. This is what we really needed. All day Saturday we really helped the drivability in the car & we felt much more confident heading into Sunday’s race.
As the green flag flew on Sunday we had only one way to go, so we set our sights on moving forward. Right off the bat there was some early caution flags. We were able to make up some spots early in the race but the early cautions really helped us in the fact that we could make a few extra pit stops to improve the car even more and to put extra fuel in to help possibly on strategy. The race eventually went green & we had some ling runs with green flag stops. Most of the race was pretty uneventful for me (which most of the time that’s a good thing) in the fact that we didn’t have any close calls on wrecks, debris, or any other odd ball thing that could happen. All day we would make small gains and improve, to ultimately finish 36th.
To finish the race 36th with no issue is a success in our book. This was a big rebound from all the blood, sweat, and tears that we had last week. We can take what we have learned and improve our race cars even more for future races to come. The next race up is Watkins Glen International. I can’t wait for this race! I have had some awesome races on the road courses and I cant wait to take that experience to the Cup level this weekend. Tune in this week and see how our weekend goes!