LONG POND – Qualifying on the same day as the actual race is pretty common for most NASCAR lower-division events and local short-track runs.
Now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is trying it out.
For this weekend, Pocono Raceway has turned into a a two-day show instead of having traditional Cup qualifying on Friday preceeding the main event Sunday.
Instead, Pocono will feature something different on Sunday: Coors Light Pole Qualifying for Cup on the same day of the Overton’s 400.
The three-round, multi-vehicle format is set to roll off at 11:35 a.m. before the 3 p.m. start of the 400-mile event, following two practice sessions that came Saturday. Pit stall selection for Sunday’s race is based off last week’s qualifying results, giving Brickyard 400 pole-sitter Kyle Busch the No. 1 stall.
2012 Cup champ Brad Keselowski is no stranger to the short turn-around, as he did it in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series.
“It does put a lot on one day…to be able to qualify and race,” Keselowski said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a bunch of sponsor commitments in between. All in all, you’re gaining a day back, Thursday or Friday, it might be able to offset those loads. To me it’s net-neutral. So I’ll guess we’ll see when we get a few more of these under our belts and how that goes.”
“I haven’t formed much of an opinion yet because I’d like to get a few under my belt.”
Bell Rings In Pocono Truck Win
Christopher Bell battled with John Hunter Nemechek in the closing stages of Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
The two ran side-by-side for several laps until Bell cleared Nemechek in Turn 3 with five laps to go and drove away from Ben Rhodes for his first Pocono victory.
“I looked up in my mirror and whenever we’d get side-by-side, we were just bringing those guys behind with us,” Bell said. “I just kept trying to figure where I was going to beat him at and thankfully, I shoved my nose where he didn’t get to the bottom of the Tunnel Turn and then it screwed up his exit off of Turn 2.”
Cup driver Kyle Busch led 32 laps and won the first two stages until Friday’s ARCA winner Justin Haley tagged Busch’s No. 51 Cessna Toyota on lap 37, ending any shot at the win for the 2015 Cup champ.
Most passes during the 60-lap race were made within a few laps after restarts as track position was king in the Overton’s 150.
Bell leaves Pocono with the points lead until the next Truck race at Michigan Int’l Speedway on August 12.