Kyle Busch grabbed the victory in the Pocono Green 250, but it was the new race package that stole headlines. Was it good, bad, or ugly?
The Good: Kyle Busch
While I still don’t agree that Cup drivers should be in the XFINITY Series, it’s hard to deny how talented Kyle Busch is. He’s now won 189 times total in the top three NASCAR touring series, including 92 times in the XFINITY series. His win on Saturday also means he’s won at all 15 tracks where all three national series run, in Cup, XFINITY, and Trucks. That’s a mind-boggling feat. Busch is clearly in the absolute prime of his career, and probably won’t slow down for a while now. While it’s a prickly topic, Busch should be in the conversation right up there with Petty, Earnhardt, and Johnson, by the time his career is finished. It’s hard to dispute that Busch is the best driver racing right now.
The Bad: The Rules Package
The new rules package was something, but it wasn’t all that great. The highlight was the couple of times when there were several cars under a blanket for one position, be it the lead, or a little farther back. Other than that, though, it wasn’t a great race. A few laps after each restart, the field would string out, and the leader would stretch out a significant lead. While the package did allow some gaps to close, the gaps up front didn’t seem so susceptible. It truly didn’t look much different from any old Pocono race. It only had seven lead changes, and only a couple under green. It’s going to take some more experimenting to find the right balance at Pocono.
The Ugly: Lap Cars
While lap cars are always a bit of a pain for the leaders, at the end of stage two they caused a real ruckus. Mike Harmon, running well off the pace in his No. 74 Chevy Camaro, broke up a four-car battle for the stage win between Paul Menard, Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, and Justin Allgaier. Harmon was running the preferred bottom as the field entered turn three. The four battling for the lead (who had been two-by-two) were forced to the outside to avoid contact with Harmon, who almost ran himself into the grass. It’s worth noting that this put Harmon a second lap down. It’s absolutely pathetic that someone who was running 38th at the time ruined what could have been a close stage finish. The only thing I can say is Harmon should be glad that race wasn’t on lap 100.