Another race at Dover and the result was the same, with Jimmie Johnson turning in yet another dominating performance and claiming the win on the concrete track. Congratulations to Johnson on his ninth win at Dover. Not even a 22-minute red flag delay to fix a pothole in turn two nor a late-race four lap dash could slow Johnson as he led 272 of 400 laps on the day. Johnson joins Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano as the only multi-time winners on the 2014 season. If there were still any doubters about whether Johnson and his team had truly turned the corner on the season, he silenced them with his performance on Sunday. The driver who early on looked as though he had something for Johnson was Kyle Busch. He was going for the weekend sweep after winning the truck race and the Nationwide race earlier in the weekend. Buschís day ended early after contact with Clint Bowyer off of turn four resulted in serious damage to the 18 M&Ms car. After Busch exited the race, it was pretty much all Johnson for the rest of the day.
Fun Fact: It was the thirteenth time in his career that Johnson had won back-to-back races.
Now the series travels a few hours farther north to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to take on Pocono Raceway. Pocono opened in 1968 but it wasnít until 1974 that NASCAR began racing at Pocono. Pocono is one of the most uniquely-shaped tracks on the circuit, because itís a triangle. With three turns and long straightaways, Pocono is a challenge to master. All three turns have different degrees of banking so it is difficult, if not impossible to have the car set up perfectly for all three turns. Most times, trying to correct a problem for one corner messes up the balance for another corner, so at best, the car can be good for two corners. Having good horsepower is also a must for Pocono with its long straightaways.
Defending winner: Jimmie Johnson took the field to the woodshed in the spring race at Pocono last year. It was a week after Johnson was penalized for jumping the restart with 19 laps to go and the 48 team came to Pocono looking to avenge their driverís miscue. They did so as Johnson led the most laps in the win.
Most wins among active drivers: Jeff Gordon (six)
Prediction: Because it is so difficult to conquer, Pocono isnít too friendly to rookies. However, it isnít impossible for a rookie to perform well at Pocono. Denny Hamlin swept Pocono in his rookie year in 2006, so it can be done. Many people had questions back in February about this rookie and whether or not he was ready for the Sprint Cup series. However, so far this rookie has proven that he can run well at tracks that he has either limited time on or never seen before. Iím going with Kyle Larson this week. He has top-ten finishes at some of the most difficult tracks for rookies this season, including Darlington, Talladega, and Bristol. He has performed well as the season has gone along, so why shouldnít he have a chance at Pocono? Look for Larson to be up front at Pocono when the day is over on Sunday.
David Barr is a graduate of Daniel Boone High School and Mansfield University, where he majored in Communications.