The Final Word – Pocono proved a great place to be, whether you be 4 or 24 years old

NASCAR’s most popular driver had his problems this past weekend. He was taken out of his ride by his car owner over some behavioral issues, then later got into hot water by getting into cool water. Barefoot and with his sneakers laying nearby half submerged, four-year-old Keelan Harvick was having a great time. After seeing the little lad sprawled right out in a puddle of water, so were a few of the other drivers. Action for most might have been put off to Monday at Pocono, but for one fellow, a rainy Sunday is a good day.

Monday. Well, Monday was a great day for Chris Buescher. With the fog rolling in at the Pennsylvania 400, he stayed out while others pitted to have the fuel to run the final 22 laps that never were as the race was red flagged. With impending stormy weather ensuring things would not be re-started, the 24-year old claimed his first win in his 27th Cup start. Team owner Bob Jenkins took his second career victory, to go with David Ragan’s 2013 win at Talladega. The win does not put Buescher automatically into the Chase, but he has just six points to make up over the next five races to move into the Top 30 in points to do just that. The man he needs to catch? B.K. Racing’s David Ragan.

Brad Keselowski, Regan Smith, and Keelan’s dad, Kevin Harvick were next, with Tony Stewart rounding out the Top Five. Martin Truex Jr. looked real good for about 20 laps. After his fresh right front went down to send him into the fence, it went all bad. Joey Logano looked real good, too, at least until Chase Elliott drifted up and they both drifted the wall a good one. None of this trio finished among the Top 30.

Kyle Larson went in seeking to at least finish ahead of the law firm of Kahne, Bayne, and Blaney to keep his Chase position well secured. He did, finishing sixth on the day, while Ryan Blaney was 11th, Kasey Kahne 15th, and Trevor Bayne was 19th. That means Kahne sits 20 points out, with Bayne and Blaney 28 away. However, if Buescher moves into the Top 30 and thus, among the 16 Chasers, Jamie McMurray becomes the new target and he sits nine points ahead of Larson.

Jeff Gordon was 27th in his 799th career race. As for the man he replaced, Dale Earnhardt Jr., he falls 47 points out as he recovers from his concussion issue, and out of the conversation for the present. Gordon, by the way, was one of seven drivers at Pocono who were 40 years of age or older. McMurray, Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Stewart, and Greg Biffle were the others. Only Elliott and Blaney were younger than the race winner.

But the kids are coming. In Iowa, 20-year old Erik Jones won the XFINITY race, his third victory of the season. The lone Cup representative, Keselowski, finished eighth. I bet he feels like a loser. As for the Camping World truck event in Pocono, 19-year old William Byron claimed his fifth race of the season. The kid has taken four of the last six contests. Would it not be nice to talk about those boys on their way up, and a bit less about Keselowski and Kyle Busch when it comes to these series? Of course, it would. One day, maybe the seven-race cut off for rookie eligibility might be used as a cut-off for the number of races one can run outside of their registered division in a season. Maybe.

Talking about kids, check out this weekend’s CARS Late Model Stock Tour at Orange County in North Carolina on YouTube. Sixteen-year-old Chase Purdy was racing hard and turned 24-year old Ryan Wilson. Wilson was not happy, got out of his car and stood on the track to stop Purdy under caution. He then took down the window net and punched the young man a few times. Something tells me they run under different rules than NASCAR. Oh, by the way, Purdy finished the 100 lap race in seventh, while Wilson’s best car in his stable is now junk.

Meanwhile, where was Keelan on Monday? Maybe dad took his car off of the blocks and let our new favorite return to racing. As for the young Harvick’s favorite driver? Well, that would be Kyle Busch, of course.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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