ThatsRacin

NASCAR Pennsylvania 400 preview in 3 minutes

Chase Elliott, center, ran quite well in Pocono earlier this season.
Chase Elliott, center, ran quite well in Pocono earlier this season. AP

Everything you need to know about Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway in three minutes:

Three things to watch

1. It’s harder than ever to pass a top Sprint Cup driver in true green-flag racing. Hence, the restarts have become potential game-changers.

2. Martin Truex Jr. is already safe in the Chase after dominating Charlotte. But he’d love to win another race Sunday.

3. Updating Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s concussion symptoms: He tweeted Saturday morning that symptoms plateaued last week. He’s still dealing with balance and gaze stabilization issues. His doctors are urging patience.

Observations

▪  There is a perception around Sprint Cup that winning a race (and thus all but clinching a Chase spot) emboldens race teams to gamble with parts and strategy the rest of the regular season. Driver Brad Keselowski, with four victories already this season, said Friday that might be true for crews, but not for drivers. He said he becomes more conservative once he’s clinched a Chase spot.

▪  In trying to explain the above, Keselowski attempted a rather strained basketball analogy: He compared an NBA player looking to stay out of foul trouble with him not ticking off other drivers before the Chase. Kinda, sorta, but not quite the same.

▪  It was cool hearing how Joey Logano discuss his love for the Olympics as a platform for drama. He mentioned how brutal it must be that certain athletes get just one chance every four years to prove themselves.

Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy team:

Chase Elliott: Rookie Elliott ran well in the first Pocono race this season and had some strong moments in Friday’s practices.

Martin Truex Jr: Since dominating in Charlotte, he has only one top-five finish in seven races. But he ran a great lap to win the pole Friday.

Jeff Gordon: Hey, the man has won six races at Pocono. It would be fun to see him in the top three here if this is his last race filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

He said it

“Yeah, it is, and maybe there’s a little magic in it. We’ll find out if I lead every lap Sunday.” – Truex, confirming the car he qualified in Pocono is the same one that dominated Charlotte.

N@SCAR

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Update: No change lately. Symptoms have plateaued over the last week. Balance/Gaze Stabilization are only issues. Docs preaching patience.</p>&mdash; Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) <a href="https://twitter.com/DaleJr/status/759389943126949888">July 30, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Update: No change lately. Symptoms have plateaued over the last week. Balance/Gaze Stabilization are only issues. Docs preaching patience.</p>&mdash; Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) <a href="https://twitter.com/DaleJr/status/759389943126949888">July 30, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Getting there

Race facts

Pennsylvania 400

Where: Pocono Raceway.

Track type: 2.5-mile asphalt triangle.

Race distance: 400 laps, or 160 miles.

Green flag: 1:30 p.m.

Weather: The good news – it will be far cooler than last week in Indianapolis with projected highs in the 70s. The bad news – scattered showers are in the forecast for much of Sunday.

TV: NBC Sports Network.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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