The Final Word – Sunday was a perfect day for a pocosnooze at Pocono

Pocono. What a nice name. What nice scenery. That one straightaway with all those trees on the other side of the fence reminds me of the Daytona backstretch. Okay, one is forest, the other is pavement, but neither have a grandstand. Anymore. Like Daytona, the track features a 2.5-mile course. Unlike Daytona, Pocono features a more tri-angler shape, compared to an oval. Also, Daytona has never put me to sleep. I mean, literally I had me a pocosnooze Sunday afternoon.

Kyle Busch did not. Even though he was a sure thing to make the Chase, barring an act of God, he got his first win of the season. A loose lug nut will cost ‘em in cash but not in encumberment, and even if it had all would have been good. 39 Cup wins to go with 89 Xfinity victories and 48 riding the trucks. That is 176 top tier flags. Is that in any way comparable to Richard Petty’s 200 victories back in the day?

In his prime, Petty claimed 140 wins alone from 1958 and 1971, competing in 565 of 713 scheduled events. It was a time when the competition had yet to be divided up into the divisions of today. However, his record over that time featured a win percentage of 35% for each event in which he competed. Busch, who is currently in the prime of his career, has won his 176 events over 927 races in which he was involved, or 19%. The King wins. Or does he? That said, Busch has only to win 24 of his next 264 NASCAR races to match Petty’s career totals. Let the debate begin.

Busch won Sunday, but there was not much drama to be had. He led 74 of 160 laps, while everyone else in the Top Five already had wins of their own. Clint Bowyer was sixth, and did close the gap to just 18 points between himself and Matt Kenseth (9th) in the fight for the final Chase place. At least, as determined by points, but that was about as exciting as it got.

Maybe a bit more for Jimmie Johnson, who got a nudge from Kasey Kahne that caused a rear left to go down to leaving Seven-time in the wall and then the garage in the second stage. A big two-point day for Johnson, while a drive-line issue left Kyle Larson 33rd. For that matter, Jamie McMurray, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney all failed to be included among the Top 25 on the day.

A great day for Busch. A good day for Martin Truex, Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, and Bowyer. Not so good if you were seeking riveting television entertainment. Maybe that is where Watkins Glen comes in next Sunday. Logano and A.J. Allmendinger both have wins there in recent years, and that would impact the standings in a big way should they do it again.

Watkins Glen also has a nice name, nice scenery, and a lot of green space without grandstands. More importantly, the road course should keep viewers awake.


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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