* Pocono unique to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing * Point leader Jimmie Johnson seeks another Pocono win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2006) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits the Pocono Mountains resort area this Sunday. Pocono Raceway in Long...
* Pocono unique to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing
* Point leader Jimmie Johnson seeks another Pocono win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 6, 2006) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits the Pocono Mountains resort area this Sunday. Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., hosts the series' 14th race of the season with the Pocono 500 (FOX, 1:30 p.m.).
Pocono's irregularly shaped 2.5-mile triangle could provide the reinforcement that No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson needs. Johnson arrives at Pocono as the series points leader after a hard-fought sixth-place finish at Dover International Speedway last Sunday.
A starting position of 40th at Dover, going a lap down due to an ill-handling race car, and an accident on Lap 275 in which the rear section of his car was damaged could have spelled disaster for Johnson.
Instead, he rebounded to a sixth-place lead-lap finish to hold on to a 74-point lead over Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) who won the Dover event. Johnson led by 109 points entering the event.
Johnson swept both Pocono events in 2004, while last year he posted finishes of sixth in June and 12th in July. Overall, in eight previous Pocono starts, Johnson has two wins, three top-5s, four top-10s, and a 2003 Budweiser Pole Award.
Roush Racing drivers could stand between Johnson's Chevrolet and Pocono's victory lane this week. Carl Edwards (No. 99 Office Depot Ford) won the 2005 June Pocono event, while former Roush driver Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) on the July event. Two other Roush drivers, Kenseth and No. 26 Irwin Tools Ford driver Jamie McMurray finished 1-2 at Dover.
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), the leading Dodge driver of 2006 with three wins, has only four previous Pocono starts.
Kahne won the pole in his first Pocono start in 2004, and posted a best finish of third in the July event that same year. Last year Kahne finished a disappointing 27th in both Pocono events.