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Pennsylvania 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on August 5, 2007

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Back to Pocono Raceway we go for the second race at the triangular track this season.  My man Dale Earnhardt, Junior will ride from the pole and is looking for his first win of the season.  With just six races left to earn a coveted spot in “The Chase For The Cup,” let the bubble-bouncing and intense racing begin!

The full started grid can be found here: ESPN.com

A few story lines to look for during today’s race:

  • Robby Gordon will be suspended for today’s Nextel Cup offering for allegedly intentionally starting a caution in yesterday’s Busch Series race.  He probably would not have been a factor today, however.

  • Dale Earnhardt, Junior hasn’t seen Winner’s Circle in 15 months.  Can he get back on track today?  Only bad luck will stop him but he’s had more than his fair share of that.

  • The weather at race time will be 77 degrees and sunny with just a 20% chance of precipitation; should be great weather for racing

Predictions:

Winner: 

Ryan Newman – #12 alltel Dodge – Penske Racing (won this race in 2003 and starts 4th today, Newman finished 2nd from the Pole position in the June race here at Pocono, was running strong last week from the 3rd position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before trouble knocked him out of contention; Dodges have ran well at Pocono in recent history and Newman is just 59 points out of “The Chase” right now so he desperately needs to continue his improving ways with just six races left to earn a spot)

Most Laps Lead:

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt Incorporated

Others To Watch For:

Kurt Busch – #2 Miller Lite Dodge – Penske Racing (starts 2nd today and finished 2nd to Denny Hamlin in this race last year as well as finished 2nd in last years June race at Pocono, winning it outright in 2005; he went from 27th to 16th in the June race at Pocono and had a Top 15 finish last week after starting 6th; at just 13 points out of the last spot for “The Chase” there is no doubt in my mind that Kurt will be driving the wheels off of this Dodge to try and make NASCAR’s version of the playoffs with only six races left to do so)

Denny Hamlin –  #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet – Joe Gibbs Racing (Is two-wins for three-starts at Pocono Raceway and started 2nd in the June race only to see himself fall to 6th by the race’s end, which is ironically where he starts from in today’s race; Denny swept Pocono last season and was in contention here in June after leading 49 laps, the most of any driver in that race)

Dale Earnhardt, Junior – #8 Budweiser Chevrolet – Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated (starts on the Pole today and has improved over the past month or so and needs to maintain that as he holds the coveted 12th and final spot in the “Chase For The Cup”; Junior started 4th last week and lead 33 laps before a bad luck blown engine parked him in the latter stages of the race)

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