Pocono Raceway has always been known to be a fairly demanding track. Unlike any other, this 2.5-mile oval has three instead of the usual four turns. The long straight-aways give the drivers a chance to run wide open and in exchange, the cars turn...
Pocono Raceway has always been known to be a fairly demanding track. Unlike any other, this 2.5-mile oval has three instead of the usual four turns. The long straight-aways give the drivers a chance to run wide open and in exchange, the cars turn a high rate of rpms. The consequence? Engine failures.
Since NASCAR enforced the one engine rule at the beginning of the season, The 600-mile race at Charlotte and tracks such as Pocono have been the cause for debate around the garage. Fine-tuning on an engine can kick it far beyond overdrive in a 500-mile plus weekend. Charlotte's 600-mile event saw six engine failures. A cause for concern heading into Pocono, a track prone to failures.
Regardless of the worry, NASCAR maintained their stance for one engine to last the entire weekend; qualifying, practice, and the race. Early in the event, the driver of the No. 28, Ricky Rudd, informed his crew that the car was running hot. After making a pitstop Rudd's crew removed a piece of tape from the grill and the problems seemed to diminish. Rudd went on to lead 60 laps. Premature concerns for a team who entered the 500-mile event on a fresh engine after making changes after happy hour.
Several other teams weren't as lucky to simply pull a piece of tape and be a contender. Evernham Motorsports teammates Jeremy Mayfield and Bill Elliott both suffered engine failures. Their Ultra/Evernham Motorsports teammate, Casey Atwood lost an engine at Pocono last year but was able to make the entire 200 laps this time around and brought home a season's best 11th place run.
With only two laps remaining in the event, Haas-Carter's No. 26, driven by Todd Bodine, blew an engine while taking the caution flag after Rudd blew out a right rear tire and hit the wall.
While Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon both grabbed top-five finishes; the two remaining Hendrick Motorsports teams were packing up the truck and heading home.
Two-time champ Terry Labonte in the No. 5 Chevy lost an engine while the 25 team and driver Joe Nemecheck was the first of several teams to suffer a severe problem with the transmission. While entering turn three on lap 31, Nemecheck lost control of the No. 25 after the car popped out of gear.
Last year's Rookie of the Year, Kevin Harvick and the RCR No. 29 ran less than 100 laps before problems bit his car. Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton in a Bill Davis Dodge, also fought transmission troubles and finished the race 27 laps down in 33rd.
The 2000 Winston Cup champion, Bobby Labonte in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 fought transmission troubles all race long and ended the event only two laps down in the 26th position.
Maybe the one engine rule isn't the only cause for complaint. Overshifting at Pocono may be the prime culprit. With Sunday's transmission problems adding viable proof of that, maybe the constant speculation of the length run on a single engine will be lessened to other possible mechanical troubles.