If you are like me, you are probably still shaking your head at the race we saw Sunday at Pocono Raceway. It was one of the craziest races we have seen in a long, long time. The list of unusual circumstances is endless. Let's start with the fact that before we even got half of the race completed we had seven cautions, but then we raced 80 some laps with only one caution.
If you were someone that only watched, let's say 150 laps of the race and then turned the race off, but picked up the paper the next day and read the final results, you would swear to yourself it had to be a misprint. I mean seriously, the top-five finishers Sunday collectively only led something like nine laps total.
There were so many odd-ball things from Sunday's race but at the top of my list would be if you had a race car that wasn't great, it actually paid dividends for you, believe it or not. What I mean by that was when the caution came out there at Lap 92, you saw all the leaders stay out because they weren't at their fuel window yet, the other cars pitted and it let them go deeper into that next run before they had to make green flag stops. Obviously by doing that it built them up some insurance to cash in later.
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I know there has to be a lot of head scratching that the top three cars -- Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. -- all pitted at the same time as Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski, yet Joey, Kyle and Martin all ran out of fuel and the other two didn't. There are so many variables at Pocono. There are driving styles. There's shifting three times during a single lap. Plus the biggest question is whether the gas man get the car completely full of fuel on that last stop. All those come into play.
If you watched the post-race interviews and heard any of the post-race comments, what was clear to me was that Joey Logano and Kyle Busch both were totally shocked they ran out of fuel. In Joey's case he wasn't even close to making it. He ran out with still two and a half laps to go. So the No. 22 missed it pretty good on that one. On the other hand, Kyle ran out on the backstretch of the last lap.
I know there is a small group of race fans that don't like fuel mileage races, but I actually think the way it played out Sunday made for a pretty cool storyline. If there wasn't the drama of the fuel mileage issue, you probably could had turned the TV off with about twenty laps to go and had a pretty good feel of how they were going to finish.
Now I know Joe Gibbs Racing has to be shocked by three things. First was the fact that Kyle didn't win his fourth race in a row. Second, they and race winner Matt Kenseth have to be shocked that Matt finally won a race at Pocono. Thirdly, and in Matt's case especially, he has to be shocked he finally won a fuel mileage race because that it simply not up Matt's alley.
It's funny how only a handful of months ago everyone was asking the same question, "What's wrong with Joe Gibbs Racing?" The answer is nothing. They started the season and won the Sprint Unlimited non-points race at Daytona in February. They also won the $1 million Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte in May. Now they have won five of the last six point races and something like eight of the last 16. That's pretty stout.
Even though Kyle ran out of fuel and lost his bid for four wins in a row, he actually still made up ground on 30th position in the points, which would qualify him for the 2015 Chase. He's now only 13 points out of 30th with five races to go, so it's a pretty safe assumption that 25 percent of the 2015 Chase field will be made up of all four Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.