2013 TrackChaser Report #68--Pocono Superspeedway, PA
On Friday Pam and I did two things that I don't think either of us have ever done before. We went to a FRIDAY AFTERNOON race for the second consecutive week, and we went to our third consecutive superspeedway race at Pocono.
I had toyed with the idea of going to Big Diamond on Friday, since I had not been there this year. But since we were going to be leaving home pretty early on Saturday, had decided against it. I was reading the Allentown Morning Call and was reminded that since they added the NASCAR Trucks to the August Pocono weekend, they relegated the ARCA race to Friday. I checked the website and saw that admission was only $10. Sounded like a great deal. Where else can you see a superspeedway race for a major series for that price? So off we went to Pocono.
The race was scheduled for 5:15 and we arrived about 4:30, just in time to catch the last few of the NASCRAP cars taking time. The ARCA stocks had their qualifying rained out and would line up by points. A decent crowd was on hand for the Friday afternoon race.
I had only been to one ARCA race at Pocono in the past, back in 2007. That race was so awful I had not been able to bring myself to return until this year and then only at $10. If memory serves, during the 2007 race, over half of the 80 laps were run under caution as every time they threw the green flag, the drivers drove right into each other and there were lengthy yellows.
There were several drivers I was interested in seeing and rooting for, but none lived up to my hoped-for expectations. Sprint car driver Chad Boat in his father Billy's car failed to start and lost the first 12 laps behind pit wall, finishing 30th of the 36 starters.
Seventy-Eight year-old James Hylton was making his final Pocono start, and since I had been seeing him race for my whole life, I thought it would be nice to see him one more time. I didn't realize how slow he goes now though, as he was lapped eight times in a 50 lap race and finished 29th, ahead of only Boat of the cars on track at the finish. And then he was only four laps ahead, when Boat spotted him 12.
Bobby Gehrhart Jr. is such a huge threat at Daytona and a long ago area dirt modified racer, I expected him to run better than he did at Pocono. He got could not run with the leaders and got lapped twice, finishing 17th.
Venezuelan hottie and Indy Car superstar Milka Duno was not quite as slow in ARCA as she was in Indy Cars, only getting lapped three times and finishing 21st.
New Jersey driver Tom Hessert III used to drive USAC Midgets, but I always got the impression he was not a true open wheel believer, just using them for some overall career strategy. Since he used to run USAC (he had some real good finishes, mostly on pavement) I still follow him somewhat. He's out of the Midgets, seems to have stalled in ARCA and the old Hooter's Pro Cup, and finished two laps down one spot ahead of Bobby G.
Another story that had my interest was the possibility of seeing ARCA history as Frank Kimmel has tied Iggy Katona for the most career wins in ARCA, at 79. If Kimmel could pull off the win, he would become the winningest driver in ARCA history. Would have been cool to see that. Kimmel was close, a distant second, 17 seconds behind the winner.
So how was the race? If was freakin' awesome. The entire 50 lap main event went NON STOP! Who would have even thought that possible with those ARCA crash-happy bastards? With the mandatory pit stop, all the stops were under green and the strategy of when to pit made the stops exciting. There were five different drivers who led the event, but an incredible eight lead changes, all under green of course. Winner Corey LaJoie took the lead for the final time on the third last lap from Erik Jones. Seven cars finished on the lead lap. The whole race took only 46 minutes, with an average speed of over 162 MPH, obviously a new track record.
Cynical me was surprised that ARCA let the race run without a caution. I have no doubt NASCRAP would have found some imaginary debris somewhere to bunch them up and set up the "three lap shootout" that seems to happen every time I watch the last few laps of one of their pseudoraces. It's to ARCA's credit that they didn't inject themselves into the race as I fully expected. I REALLY enjoyed watching this race and how it developed naturally and honestly. Well done, ARCA. I'm so happy we decided to make the ten minute drive to the track for this one. Who would have ever thought I would see three races in a row at the Pocono Superspeedway?
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 44 / Pam 29
2013 Events-- Guy 65 / Pam 36
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 65 / Pam 36
2013 Additional new Non TC Tracks--Guy 5 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,521 / Pam 866
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