Published on June 13th, 2011 | by Shannon Baxter1
5-Hour Energy 500 Review: A Long Race
It’s a good thing the Pocono race was sponsored by 5-Hour Energy because this 500 mile race was a long one. There were four cautions, but only one for an actual on-track incident: Greg Biffle spinning off of Turn 3. I think most of the NASCAR teams would like to sweep this race under the table and forget about it.
Transmissions seemed to be a problem for many teams Sunday. Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski, and Marcos Ambrose all had transmission issues during the race.
Stewart voiced his opinion during the race when he lost his third gear. “I want to thank NASCAR for having us shift about 100 times”, Stewart said. NASCAR allowed new gear ratios at Pocono that gave drivers more shifting options. The increased shifting took a heavy toll on equipment, causing parts to break.
Harvick vs. Busch
The Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch boxing match has been going on for weeks now. Even more so after the off-track altercation between Harvick’s car owner Richard Childress and Kyle Busch.
On lap 17 of Sunday’s race, Busch attempted to pass Harvick. Harvick blocked him, running him down to the inside wall on the frontstretch. Later, Harvick bump-drafted Busch down the frontstretch after Busch passed him. This battle carried on throughout the early part of the race.
NASCAR sent out a warning to the drivers to “Race the track, not each other.” Busch said, “It’s not my fight. He’s trying to turn it on me.” Harvick said, “He knows he’s got one coming. I just want him to think about it.”
Who’s side am I on? Neither. I think Richard Childress had the right idea of letting his fist do the talking. In my opinion, NASCAR needs to have an off-track boxing ring so drivers can release their fustrations after the race. That probably wouldn’t go over very well with NASCAR President Mike Helton though.
I feel like I am repeating myself every week when I talk about Dale Earnhardt Jr. His team seems to gain more ground each week. His team has such great chemistry, and is itching to get a win.
Earnhardt Jr started the race in 21st place and finished in sixth place. The only thing the No. 88 team needs to work on now is qualifying. If the team could start the race in a better position, he wouldn’t have to work so hard and long to get to the front of the pack — they also wouldn’t need to rely on pit strategy.
A win is right around the corner for this team. In the meantime, it’s great to see that No. 88 car running in the top 10 every week, especially at tracks that have not been statistically good tracks for him.
It’s no secret that Kevin Harvick is unstoppable this season. He sits solidly fourth in points, just eleven points behind leader Carl Edwards. I think his off-track incident with Busch has overshadowed how well he has done this season. With three wins so far this season, Harvick has proven he has his game face on. I believe if anyone wants to win the title of the 2011 Sprint Cup Champion, they are going to have to beat Harvick to do it.
Jeff Gordon took home the win for the 5 Hour Energy 500, his second win this season. This may lock in his position for the Sprint Cup Chase, because he is in top 20 in points and has two wins this year. The victory ties Jeff Gordon with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison on the all-time win list. each has 84 wins.