Pocono News ‘N’ Notes
– Reed Sorenson and FAS Lane Racing picked up some last-minute sponsorship for Pocono, courtesy a little “hometown support.” Two Pennsylvania-based companies, Herr’s Potato Chips and Hero Energy Shot will combine to back the No. 32 Ford for Sunday’s 400-miler. The partnership will also be aimed to raise money for those in need; proceeds from every Hero Energy Shot sale go to non-profit organizations that support our military, firefighters, police and first responders.
“I’m really excited to be affiliated with these two local companies that do so much to help American heroes in need,” said Frank Stoddard, owner of FAS Lane Racing. “We have a lot to do to get ready for our race package on this newly paved track. We want to give our new sponsors something to be proud about and feel that we have a great opportunity to do so this year. Our crew absolutely loves the snack foods from Herr’s and the Hero Energy Shots get them through their really long days getting our cars prepared for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.”
In just eight months, Hero Energy Shot has increased their distribution to a total of over 4,000 stores. Sorenson, their driver hopes to repay them with a strong performance, although his best finish in nine career Pocono starts is 20th place.
– Despite speeds reported as high as 214 miles an hour going into Turn 1, NASCAR remained adamant Friday restrictor plates will not be used on the Cup cars heading into Sunday’s race. Several drivers used the word “comfortable” when describing speeds and there was very little, if any chatter about safety concerns heading into the 400-mile event. The sanctioning body also claimed plates were currently not being considered for another repaved speedway, Michigan, next Sunday.
– The “Kurt Busch” soap opera appeared to slow down a bit Friday, with replacement David Reutimann relatively decent in both practice sessions replacing the suspended driver (18th and 17th, respectively.) At least one owner, though, despite rearing his head in the Bob Pockrass controversy a few days earlier admits this recent outburst will make it hard for Busch to return to a top-tier level within the Sprint Cup garage.
“Half of the battle is getting a good sponsor,” said Tony Stewart. “And if the sponsors are leery, then it puts you in a bad spot as an owner unless you have unlimited funding and can just put in there whoever you want, it’s definitely a huge concern.”
Pocono Final Practice
For Joey Logano, later is better. Sliced Bread sliced his way to the top in NASCAR’s final Pocono practice session, posting a time of 179.501 miles an hour. The No. 20 Toyota had struggled early in the day but got stronger as grip got weaker on Pocono’s shining new asphalt.
As with the first Friday session, the practice was uneventful apart from Stephen Leicht hitting a groundhog on-track. No major incidents were reported, and passing was at a premium with drivers trying to work in race trim without taking any chances on what’s continued to be a one-groove raceway. Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top-5 drivers in speed.