Entering Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway, I’m sure many thought that we left the madness behind us at Talladega, but, boy, the Tricky Triangle proved us wrong.
Calamity for the Big Guns…
The issues came hot and heavy for major teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports, both of which had multiple cars caught up in wrecks. In fact, Michael Annett finished fifth and avoided every incident, the only driver from either organization to accomplish that feat.
Even the two other top-ten finishers from these teams, Justin Allgaier and Riley Herbst, were involved in incidents. Herbst was turned around by Justin Haley on the frontstretch but recovered to finish ninth. Meanwhile, Allgaier, who recovered to finish sixth, along with both of his JRM teammates were caught up in a six-car pileup which started with contact between Myatt Snider and Noah Gragson.
… Allows Underdogs To Shine
All these issues for top teams allowed some series newcomers and small teams to take home great finishes. Here’s a rundown of some milestones earned during Sunday’s race:
Series veteran Jeremy Clements finished third, his fourth-career top five and career-best oval track finish.
Rookie Myatt Snider stayed out of trouble and had a fantastic run at Pocono! (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Series rookie Myatt Snider scored a career-best fourth-place finish in his twelfth career XFINITY race. In fact, Snider improved from his previous best of fifth at Bristol just a month ago.
Brett Moffitt, driving for the newly-minted Our Motorsports, finished seventh, his third top ten of the season and the fourth of his career.
Timmy Hill finished eighth, his second career top ten finish at a non-superspeedway track. Hill finished seventh at Bristol last fall.
Jesse Little, another series rookie, grabbed a career-best finish of tenth, leading a strong day for JD Motorsports.
Dexter Bean, who only has 17 starts and five finishes to his name, scored a career-best 11th-place, topping his previous best of 23rd back in 2016. Bean made his series debut in 2006, but didn’t make his second start until 2015. However, he’s made anywhere from one to five starts per season since then.
Ryan Vargas, making his fourth career XFINITY start and his first of the year, scored a career-best finish of 13th. The 19-year-old Vargas only has 18 NASCAR starts, 14 coming during a full season of K&N East competition, where he finished sixth in points.
Kyle Weatherman finished 15th, tying Mike Harmon Racing’s best-ever finish in 276 starts. The finish is also Weatherman’s career-best in 13 career races.
Needless to say, the wild wrecks that resulted in a record nine cautions played into the hands of many young drivers and underdog teams, giving newcomers to the series and small, underfunded teams a chance to show their worth.
So What’s Next?
While Austin Cindric wrecked at Pocono, look for him to be strong when he heads to the Indy Grand Prix circuit this Fourth of July. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
And don’t think for a second that the insanity is done quite yet. On Saturday, July 4th, the XFINITY Series will head to Speedway, Indiana to run the Grand Prix layout of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time ever. This will allow another opportunity for underdogs to flex their muscles, especially if chaos strikes.