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NASCAR Sprint Cup Preview — Party in the Poconos

Patrick Smith\Getty Images

43 Sprint Cup teams take to the track for the Party in the Poconos 400 at Pocono International Raceway Sunday.

The teams will have two practices on Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s 400 mile race. According to the forecast, it appears to be a soggy weekend in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Saturday appears to have the best chance of rain and a high again near 70. With a minimal number of teams, everyone should make the race. Tropical Storm Andrea is forecasted to be out of the area by Sunday’s race time. We will get back to the race coverage shortly but first.

Blake’s NASCAR Newsmakers from this week:

A BIG topic on Twitter on Sunday evening was the rumor that Brad Keselowski’s #2 car failed post race inspection following Sunday’s race at Dover. NASCAR confirmed the inspection failure on Tuesday with a statement and fine.  The 2 car was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1B (the car failed to meet the minimum front car heights during post-race inspection) of the 2013 rule book. As a result of this violation, crew chief Paul Wolfe has been fined $25,000 and will remain on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. The team has also been docked six championship driver (Brad Keselowski) and six championship car owner (Roger Penske) points.

Richard Childress Racing made a “pit stop” this week in the Bluegrass State on their way to the Pocono Mountains. Paul Menard, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick tested at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brad Keselowski and the #2 team took to the track at Road Atlanta in preparation for the upcoming road course races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

Moon’s NASCAR Driver Comments:

Jeff Gordon, who won last year’s event, gave his team kudos for what they have accomplished so far this season but knows things can go bad at the drop of a hat. “We’ve just had some things happen to us kind of like last year – s0ome self-inflicted and some things out of our hands”.  For Denny Hamlin the newly paved track is like a brand new one, “You’ve got a whole ‘nuther surface, new set up, new way of driving style every single time”. Team owner Roger Penske attributed the problem Blake described above as, “A broken part that allowed a front spring to fall and made the entire front of the car too low”. That penalty dropped Keselowski to tenth in the points standing.

Pocono Chassis Selections:   

#2 Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Pocono is PRS-856, which is a new chassis.

#5 Kasey Kahne: or this weekend at Pocono, crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-779, a car Kahne has driven twice before. In March, Kahne led 114 laps in this chassis and finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Most recently, he raced this car at Texas Motor Speedway in April and finished 11th. Kahne will be in the Hendrickcars.com colors this weekend.

#9 Marcos Ambrose: #9 DeWalt team has prepared chassis No. 842 for Pocono. The last time the team competed with this chassis was at Darlington Raceway this season.

#10 Danica Patrick: The Go Daddy team has prepared Chassis# No. 10-723. This chassis was tested in the wind tunnel before seeing its first on-track activity in April at Texas, where Patrick started 42nd and finished 28th. The car was then tested by Patrick May 7-8 at Nashville Superspeedway and May 29-30 at Pocono Raceway.

#14 Tony Stewart: Last weekend’s winner is bringing a familiar and proven chassis to the “Tricky Triangle” this weekend, Chassis 14-706. The chassis made its debut at Autoclub Speedway in 2012 where Stewart took it to victory lane. The car has made 4 other appearances and was also tested at Indianapolis last month for a Goodyear tire test. Tony will be in the Mobil1 colors this weekend.

#22 Joey Logano: Primary Chassis for Pocono is PRS-848 which last raced at Texas and finished 5th.

#29 Kevin Harvick: The Rheem team has prepared Chassis No. 391 from the Richard Childress Racing stables for this weekend’s race. Harvick raced this chassis to a 14th place finish earlier this season at Bristol.

#39 Ryan Newman: Chassis #39-733 will take to the track this weekend for Ryan Newman. This car was raced at both Indianapolis and Pocono last season and finished 14th at Kansas and 10th at Darlington this season.

#48 Jimmie Johnson:  Chad Knaus has prepared Chassis #728 for this weekend. This chassis last ran at Texas in April, finishing 6th and won two races in 2012, at Indy and Dover.

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Crew chief Steve Letarte has prepared a new chassis for the #88 team this weekend.

Blake and Moon’s picks for The Party in the Poconos 400:

Jared Wickerham\Getty Images

Blake is going with a driver who has a win at Pocono, matter of fact it was last year. Joey Logano left the #20 team following the 2012 season and joined Team Penske. Logano has adapted well at the #22 team and has also adapted well to the Generation 6 car. He is my pick for this weekend…look for Logano to be “partying in the Poconos” in victory lane on Sunday.

Geoff Burke\Getty Images

Moon picks the lovely and talented Danica Patrick to achieve her first victory Sunday. Oh, Danica, it’s a Pocono you know!

Tune into live coverage of Sunday’s Party in the Poconos 400 beginning at 11AM on WBKR and WBKR.com!

 

 

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