Posted: Thursday, June 5th 2014 at 4:00am
NASCAR Preview: Points leader Kenseth finds Pocono tricky
By NASCAR Media
Matt Kenseth enters this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway still looking for his first victory of 2014. / Photo: NASCAR Via Getty Images
POCONO, PA - Something’s gotta give.
Matt Kenseth has finished third in each of the last two races. He now has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver in the series. He also now has the points lead, ending Jeff Gordon’s six-race stranglehold on the top spot.
But, he still doesn’t have a win.
A win at Pocono would check off two boxes: a first 2014 win (and near-guaranteed Chase spot) and a first Pocono win (it’s one of six tracks at which Kenseth has not won).
Bottom line – Kenseth is arguably the most prominent name on the 2014 winless list, and that fact gets magnified each week. So, could the series points leader’s recent momentum turn into a trip to Victory Lane on Sunday? Let’s take a look at the stats:
-Three top-five finishes at Pocono
-In 28 races, average finish is 14.9
-Driver Rating at Pocono is 89.6, which ranks in the top 10
A veteran, Kenseth’s keeping calm about the absence of winner decals affixed to the No. 20 car.
“Panicking has never helped anything,” says Kenseth. “Like I said, I feel like we're gaining on it. We've just been off a little bit all year… We're digging hard trying to figure it out. We're just not quite there yet.”
WDUN will have live MRN Radio coverage of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway beginning at noon on 102.9 FM and at 1 pm on 550 AM.
Nationwide Series: Welcome To The Big Leagues: Rookie’s Stamina To Be Tried
This season’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year class has been one of the best the NASCAR Nationwide Series has ever seen. So as the series hits the brakes this weekend, let’s take a look at some quick highlights from the top three in the Sunoco Rookie standings through 12 races:
Chase Elliott – Not only does he have a 33-point lead in the rookie standings but he also has posted two wins (Texas, Darlington), six top fives, nine top 10s with an average finish of 9.4. He also has led the overall series driver standings for five races this season; he is currently third in points, 22 back from Regan Smith.
Ty Dillon – Following in his brother Austin’s footsteps, Ty is driving the famed No. 3 car in the NNS this season, and is second in the Sunoco Rookie standings. Dillon has posted nine top-10 finishes and a pole this season. His average finishing position is 9.7. Dillon is fifth in the overall series driver standings, 34 points back from Regan Smith.
Chris Buescher – Competing against his cousin (James) this season in the NNS, Chris is third in the rookie standings and ninth in the overall driver standings. Separated by 64 points from Chase Elliott in the Sunoco Rookie standings, Buescher has posted one top five and four top 10s this season. His average finish in 2014 is 14.3.
Elliott, Dillon, Buescher and the rest of the class of young talent will have their racing career stamina’s truly tested following this break; the series enters a 18-week stretch of racing that none of them have faced in their racing careers before. Dillon has the most experience at long schedule stretches, from participating in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series has the weekend off, and will return to action on June 14 for the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Nemechek Looks To Make It A Special Day For Co-Owner
Joe Nemechek co-owns the SWM-NEMCO Motorsports truck team with Texas native Sid Mauldin. Mauldin is currently battling cancer and is receiving treatment at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The Nemecheks have been featuring the logo on their truck recently.
“We’re looking forward to heading to Texas this weekend where our co-owners, Sid and Dawna Mauldin, call home and have their business so we’re really motivated to do well in their ‘stomping grounds,’” said the elder Nemechek. “I’ve always enjoyed running at Texas and we have a win and a few top-five finishes there so it’ll be exciting to race it for the first time in a truck. We’re having a great time running the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and coming off the weekend we had with John Hunter at Dover this past weekend, everyone on the team is excited and ready to go.”
The father-son team has done well this season splitting the No. 8 Toyota Tundra as Joe races in events that John Hunter is not eligible (at 16 years old, John Hunter can only run track under 1.25 miles in length). The truck is currently seventh in owner points and just nine points out of second place.
Joe scored a season-best finish of eighth at Daytona, while John Hunter finished sixth last weekend at Dover. Joe Nemechek has a total of 42 NASCAR starts at Texas Motor Speedway but this will be his first in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He has one win at TMS – in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on March 29, 2003.
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