Cannon#8217;s Fastlane

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

With the running of the Best Buy 400 at Dover last week, we’re halfway home in the race for the Chase, and if you missed the race last week you missed a whale of a wreck. Its biggest significance was that it collected six of the top 12 drivers in the points standings.

By winning the race, and with half his closest competition finishing in the bottom third of the Dover line-up, Kyle Busch was able to open a 142-point lead over second place.

For the drivers outside the top 12 n a list which includes names like Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman – it’s time to get moving or risk missing the cut in September.

With 23 races still left in the season, rumors abound that most of the open wheel racing transfers from last season may not have a ride next season.

I say good riddance. It’s hard to imagine that this little experiment could be considered anything but a failure.

Of the drivers who made the move, Sam Hornish Jr. sits the highest in the point standings – at 33rd. All of them have failed to qualify for at least one of the 13 races this season and Jacques Villeneuve never made a single race.

I think Hornish will tough it out a few more years but I think the rest will be headed back to open wheel after Homestead.

Sunday, the drivers park ’em in Pocono.

I don’t particularly enjoy this race.

It’s got somewhat of an unusual design (think triangle with rounded corners), which lends itself to gas and break, gas and break. It’s a lot like watching commuters drive home in Friday afternoon rush hour.

The odd design makes the setup of the car and the crew’s ability to make adjustments on the fly even more crucial. The guys over the wall will be the deciding factor in this race.

My pick to win this week is Jeff Gordon.

The ability to out-think and out-tweak your fellow drivers is incredibly important at this track, so you’ve got to figure Sunday’s winner will come out of the Hendrick garage.

Denny Hamlin swept the Pocono series in 2006 – his rookie year. He also started from the pole in both races, so let’s not count him out.

However, Gordon is a four-time winner at the Pennsylvania track and has got to be itching to get the monkey of having not won a race this season off his back.

The Pocono race also marks a network switch from FOX to TNT, so don’t forget to adjust your Tivo.

Jason Cannon is the Publisher of the Franklin County Times, a sister newspaper to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. He can be reached via email at