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October 23, 2014

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Observations from Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway

Don’t be surprised if Kasey Kahne is a contender during the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. If Kahne and his Gillett Evernham Motorsports team can recapture the chemistry they had in 2006, when Kahne won six races, they are capable of getting on a prolonged hot streak. Two victories in the past three points races is a great start, but two races do not a season make. …

Kurt Busch made a spectacular recovery from his early spin and front splitter damage and finished eighth Sunday. Amazingly, it was only the second top-10 finish this season for the 2004 series champion and his first since the season-opening Daytona 500. …

Each week, an average of four cars get slapped with penalties for speeding while entering or exiting the pits. On Sunday, five cars were hit with pass-through penalties for speeding in the pits. When is NASCAR going to join the 21st century and allow Sprint Cup teams to put speedometers in the cars? NASCAR officials complain that it would be a headache having to make sure each speedometer was properly calibrated, but NASCAR simply could make the teams responsible for that. …

The triangle-shaped Pocono Raceway is a nice change of pace on the Sprint Cup schedule – but TWO races in EIGHT WEEKS? …

It’s nice to see Mark Martin loosen up a little bit. The usually straight-laced Martin stopped short of guaranteeing a win in next month’s Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I'm planning on winning the Brickyard in the No. 8 car," Martin said Friday. "We've got the stuff, we've got the team. The cars are awesome on flat tracks (like) Phoenix and Richmond. I have never planned on anything more than my plan for the Brickyard.” …

Maybe Rick Hendrick knew what he was doing by not allowing Kyle Busch, when he drove for Hendrick Motorsports, to fly all over the country to race in Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series events that were not held in conjunction with Sprint Cup races. After finishing second in Friday’s truck race at Texas Motor Speedway, Busch was 20th in the Nationwide race Saturday at Nashville Speedway and was 43rd Sunday at Pocono and saw his 142-point lead in the Sprint Cup Series shrink to 21 points over Jeff Burton.

Kyle Petty does such a good job as an analyst on TNT’s Sprint Cup broadcasts that he should consider stepping out of the No. 45 Dodge permanently and turning the ride over to another driver. He’s one of the sport’s all-time class acts, but he hasn’t been competitive in years. Petty has only seven top-10 finishes this decade and hasn’t won a race since 1995.

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