By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Pocono Raceway has had a reputation of producing boring races, and well boring finishes. Sunday was shaping up to be yet another… that was until the final 40 laps of Sunday’s race when all hell broke loose. We saw tempers flare through an old rivalry, we also saw a new set of teammates start up a feud, and ultimately we saw a glaring safety issue with Pocono Raceway.
Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano have started becoming very familiar with running into each other on the race track. This feud began earlier this season in a Nationwide Series event at Bristol. In that race Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were fighting for position on the final lap, when Harvick punted Logano out of the way for the spot. Logano left the race frustrated, but left it at that.
However this week with two laps remaining in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500, Harvick’s front bumper again found itself making contact with Logano. The tap sent Logano spinning out of the fourth position all the way back to 30th. Logano drove like a man possessed on the restart, and somehow worked his way through the last lap crash to finish 13th.
After the race Logano was visibly upset, and had finally had enough. Logano went to have a word with Harvick, but crew members kept the two drivers separated. However when reporters caught up with Joey Logano he added fuel to the fire.
“It’s disappointing to be honest with you we had a top-five run going…” Logano said, “Racing the 29 (Harvick) and he let me go on halfway down the straightaway, and decided to dumb me in the next turn. I don’t know what his deal is with me, but uh it’s probably not his fault his wife wears the fire suit in the family and tells him what to do. So It’s probably not his fault.”
In my opinion the incident was completely Kevin Harvick’s fault, and he thought he would just take advantage of the younger Logano. However the 20-year-old driver stood up for himself after several run-ins with other drivers this season that have been the result of over aggression on the part of the other parties.
I do think that with his actions after the race Joey Logano proved he will be around for a long time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Logano’s spin set up a green white checkered finish. On the final lap of the race Kasey Kahne got a huge run down the backstretch and attempted to pass his teammate A.J. Allmendinger for 10th place. However Allmendinger blocked low and forced Kahne through the grass, which sent him careening across the track and head on into the wall.
As Kahne hit the wall he was tagged by Mark Martin, and Greg Biffle which sent him a little air born in a scary crash.
Kahne really didn’t know how to explain the accident, but did know he would have more communication with his teammate this week for sure.
“I don’t know what AJ was doing there.” Kahne said, “I don’t ever really talk to him much, but you can bet I will be talking to him this week.”
The Richard Petty Motorsports duo isn’t the first set of teammates to get into it this season. Among the other notables to tangle through the season are Hendrick Motorsports’ teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray in Las Vegas. The only question is will they bury the hatchet or will this be an ongoing feud? The fact that Kahne will not be with the team next season really makes you wonder.
During this chaotic crash a safety issue with the race course itself was actually brought to the forefront. When Kahne got airborn, he came literally inches from flying over the wall, and out of the race track. If that would’ve happened, who knows what we’d be talking about today, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t have been good.
Pocono Raceway has several sections of the track where there aren’t spectator grandstands, as in the case of the segment of track that Kahne crashed in. As a result in these areas there isn’t a catch fence to keep cars inside the arena if you will. This is especially dangerous, because at Pocono, what is on the other side of that wall are a whole bunch of trees.
As we all know cars hitting trees are not a good sight. I would like to see NASCAR address this issue with the racetrack, and get this problem rectified immediately. The simple solution would be to require every racetrack to have a catch fence all the way around their facility, to prevent any cars from leaving any racetrack.
The final 40 laps of Pocono, had more than enough action, and storylines to keep us occupied for the next week for sure, but lets just be thankful things weren’t as bad as they could of been in Kasey Kahne’s crash.