NASCAR weekly: Harvick and Hamlin win in Pocono – cone rule for Bristol?

NASCAR weekly: Harvick and Hamlin win in Pocono – cone rule for Bristol?
Credits: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Last weekend, the first double header in NASCAR history took place – Four races were held at the Pocono Raceway – Cone rule to be used at Bristol’s All-Star Race

NASCAR history was written at the Pocono Raceway last weekend with the first double header ever. For the first time on a race weekend, there were two NASCAR Cup Series races held at one track. In addition, the races of the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Series took place.

NASCAR Cup Series

The 2020 season has been jinxed: once again, lightning and rain forced NASCAR to postpone both Pocono races of the NASCAR Cup Series, but at least both races were held over the full distance. On Saturday Kevin Harvick prevailed against his competitors.

The Californian in the service of Stewart-Haas Racing delivered a dominant and flawless final stage and secured his second win of the season after his triumph at Darlington Raceway. The previous stages were won by Joey Logano (Penske) and Aric Almirola (Stewart-Haas). Denny Hamlin (Gibbs) finished second ahead of Almirola, Christopher Bell (Leavine Family) and Kyle Busch (Gibbs).

On Sunday Joe Gibbs driver Hamlin sped to victory at the Pocono Raceway. The driver from Tampa in Florida left previous winner Harvick behind to secure his fourth win of the season. Hamlin had visited the Victory Lane in the 2020 season also at Daytona, Darlington and Homestead. Erik Jones (Gibbs) was third ahead of Chase Elliott (Hendrick) and Almirola. The two stage wins went to Kurt Busch (Ganassi) and Brad Keselowski (Penske).

Credits: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

All-Star rules and cancellation of Champions Week

According to media reports, there will be an interesting rule change for the All-Star race on 15th of July at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The so-called cone rule will be applied in Bristol. During a yellow phase a cone will be placed. The drivers will then have the choice of choosing the inner or outer line for the re-start. An extreme example: If all the drivers pick the inside line, there’s a single-file restart on that same line.

EuroNASCAR fans have already experienced this format in 2018 during the World Oval Challenge at the Tours Speedway. At that time, the cone rule created a lot of action because the drivers chose different strategies. Especially drivers who are further behind can improve their track position by choosing the supposedly worse line at the restart. The roots of the rule are in “Grass Root Racing” on the local ovals and lower series in the USA.

The NASCAR Champions Week 2020 in Nashville is cancelled. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR has decided to completely cancel the NASCAR champion’s honors ceremony to protect the drivers, employees and team members.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

While the races in the NASCAR Cup Series were once again hit by rain, the NASCAR Xfinity Series was spared. Chase Briscoe (Stewart-Haas) showed an impressive performance in the race and drove to victory despite a spin and a penalty – he had driven too fast through the pit lane.

The 25-year-old only grabbed the lead shortly before the end of the overtime in the fight against Ross Chastain (Kaulig). Chastain, in second place, won the last Dash-4-Cash bonus of the season. It was the second time that the 27-year-old was allowed to take home the $100,000.

NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Truck Series

Credtis: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The race of the NASCAR Gander & RV Outdoors Truck Series was also decided at the final metres. At the restart two laps before the end Brandon Jones (Kyle Busch) was in the lead, but lost it to Sheldon Creed (GMS).

But Jones – who hasn’t won a truck race yet – wanted to win at all costs, stayed in attack mode and passed Creed on the last lap. The 22-year-old Creed even dropped back to third place behind Austin Hill (Hattori).

Meanwhile, Natalie Decker (Niece) had to sit out in Pocono because she was hospitalised shortly before the race weekend. In the cockpit of Niece Motorsports’ number 44, the 23-year-old was replaced by Bayley Currey.

According to Decker’s website, the reason for the hospital stay is a complication of the bile ducts in connection with her gall bladder removal in December. The 23-year-old will therefore continue to receive treatment.

André Wiegold and Simon Mones