NASCAR Race Weekend Central

The Critic’s Annex 88- Pocono ARCA 200

Hello, race fans. Welcome back to the Critic’s Annex, where additional motorsport television critique is the name of the game. Last weekend brought us a relatively varied schedule with superspeedway racing and road racing. Supporting Sprint Cup at the newly-repaved Pocono Raceway was the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.

The main talk at the beginning of the telecast was not only on the new pavement, but on the move by ARCA to mandate tapered spacers in order to slow the cars, a first for the series. Ultimately, this led to a rather unusual style of racing on Saturday. Brakes were nowhere near as important in the event as they were in the Cup race on Sunday.

This race will probably be best known for the really quirky crash that Aleks Gregory suffered before the start of the race. Its unclear what happened to cause the incident. Rick Allen and Phil Parsons theorized that the crash was caused by Gregory losing control while shifting up from second to third gear (the crash occurred after the second pace car had pulled off and the rest of the field was catching up to the front bunch). We’ll never know for sure, especially since SPEED failed to procure an interview with Gregory. There was also no indication that they sought out Gregory for comment.

The race telecast itself was not that bad. Anyone who saw this race on Saturday (or a repeat of it) would agree that Brennan Poole stunk up the show. When I watched the race live, I was convinced that Poole had led flag-to-flag. That wasn’t quite the case, but it might as well had been.

Aside from the can that Poole was administering to the field, one of the biggest stories were the highly localized tire problems that plagued Kevin Swindell in particular. Swindell had at least two failures during the race that dropped him completely out of contention. All of them were left-front tires and all three went down after a relatively short amount of time.

SPEED didn’t really publicize the fact that they actually put the race on a one hour tape delay, but they did. Most people watching the race probably did not even notice, but there were two times in which SPEED just hit the pause button so that they could take a break. One of those was during the pace laps after Gregory wrecked. The other one was with 11 laps to go. Typically, you would only do that if you knew something really sweet was coming up. That wasn’t really the case on Saturday,

Post-race coverage was decent by ARCA standards. There were interviews with the top-3 finishers (Poole, Chad Hackenbracht and Alex Bowman), and the winning crew chief (Billy Venturini). There were also checks of the unofficial results and point standings before SPEED left the air.

All in all, SPEED’s telecast wasn’t all that bad. I still feel that they should have tracked down Gregory for comment following his unusual wreck. However, given the circumstances, there is the possibility that Gregory might have been unwilling to talk to the media afterwards because of sheer embarrassment. Of course, if they did track Gregory down and he refused to talk on-camera, they should have notified viewers of that fact.

Outside of that fact, SPEED did show us some battles for position. However, these were few and far between due to the fact that the field spread out substantially. Allen and Parsons did make a relatively boring race interesting, and I thank them for that, though.

That’s all for this week. I know, its a short critique, but there sadly wasn’t much to tell about this race. Next week, I’ll be back with more criticism. Until then, enjoy this weekend’s racing in Michigan, Milwaukee and Le Mans.

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