LONG POND – The only thing consistent, Jeff Burton believes, has been inconsistency.
That’s why the driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet feels the logjam to get into the Chase will remain through the next six races.
“I see it continuing,” Burton said prior to qualifying Friday for Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway. “I think there is a lot of inconsistency this year. You look at the teams that are 10th to 20th, there’s just a great deal of inconsistency there.”
The difference in drivers points from 20th-place Burton and 10th-place Jeff Gordon is 60 as NASCAR approaches the cutoff point for the Chase after the Sept. 7 race at Richmond.
Among the 10-20 group, only Tony Stewart (11th) and Jamie McMurray (15th) have no DNFs. Gordon and Ryan Newman have five DNFs each, placing them tied for third among Sprint Cup regulars who don’t resort to the start-and-park strategy.
“None of those teams have shown from a speed standpoint or reliability standpoint to get on a roll,” Burton said.
WALK FOR BREAST CANCER: Lebanon-based Bill Martel Racing is hosting Go Pink at Pocono 2, a benefit track walk for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) today following the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, which starts at 1 p.m.
The walk will be led by Kyle Martel, driver of the No. 59 Chevy truck, and start about one hour after the truck race.
Registration for Go Pink at Pocono 2 will take place at the Bill Martel Racing Tent located under the main grandstand at the start-finish line from 8:30 a.m. today until the conclusion of the truck race. The cost for the benefit walk is $10 or $20,which includes a commemorative t-shirt while supplies last. Walkers must also sign a waiver and wear a pink bracelet that will be provided.
OFF COURSE: The series heads to Watkins Glen next Sunday, the second of two Cup races at road courses. In the past, a few teams would line up road course aces – such as Boris Said or Ron Fellows – to drive to get a perceived competitive edge.
That hasn’t paid off recently. Said was the only non-Cup regular to crack the top 20 at the Sonoma road course in June. He finished 18th.
Tony Stewart chalks up the change to Cup drivers and teams taking the two non-oval races more seriously.
“They put a lot of effort into it,” Stewart said. “It used to be they used to take one of their worst cars and that was their road course car. Now guys build new cars, they go and do as much testing for road course races as they do, if not more, for oval races.”
HARD TO SEE: At 2.5 miles, Pocono is the second-longest track on the Cup circuit, ranking just behind the 2.66-mile Talladega track. It’s large, flat layout presents more than just a challenge for the drivers.
“Pocono and Indy are the two toughest tracks for a spotter,” said Jeremy Brickhouse, the spotter for the No. 55 Toyota driven by Mark Martin. “We stand right above the start-finish line at Pocono and when you look down into turn one, it’s pretty tough to see. On the restarts they always fan out and they are going away from us.”
Brickhouse said spotting is about judging angle and the momentum of other cars and being another set of eyes for the driver.
Brickhouse has been spotting for Martin since 2007.
NO BRO’: Brian Keselowski was on the orginal entry list when it was released Monday. But come Friday, the brother of defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski was a no-show. It would have been only his third Cup start of his career.
Brian’s absence meant no team had to pack up after Friday as all 43 drivers made the field.