The Final Word – Things got rather iffy at Pocono

If. We all have a closet full of “ifs” that we may ponder about. Take last Sunday for instance. If Kyle Busch had saved enough fuel, he may well have won his fourth straight race, moved into the Top 30 in points, and sat atop the season standings with five victories to his credit. But he did not, so he does not. Well, at least for another week, as despite finishing 21st on Sunday he now trails the pair tied for that magic spot by just 17 points.

If Joey Logano had not run out of gas to allow Busch to pass him with a handful of laps left, he might have won his second of the season., instead of coming home 20th. That would have pushed him into third place on the season ladder, but the cars can hold only so many gallons, and he needed a couple more.

If Kevin Harvick had an engine that would last more than 20 laps, he could have won his third. However, just as he took the lead his car went up in smoke to take care of any mosquito problems in the area. He almost went from first to worst, but he even failed at that.

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If Kasey Kahne had not spun coming out of the third turn, he might have avoided finishing dead last after just three laps. Three. He broke loose, headed toward pit road, and found the inside wall. A lot of helmets on the barrier went flying but, thankfully, not a single head was in any of them. Now he sits 16th in the standings, which means he will be 17th after next week unless he can make up the 15 points he now trails Clint Bowyer.

If Bowyer, who finished eighth, could just win a race he would not be worrying about making the Chase. His 15th could be the new 16th or worse if Kyle does well next Sunday and somebody below him in points wins at Watkins Glen. Somebody like 2014 race winner A.J. Allmendinger, for example. Don’t you think team owner Michael Waltrip could use a little good news about now?

If last weekend’s race went 159 laps, instead of 160, Matt Kenseth would not have claimed his 33rd career victory, his second of the season, and his first in 32 Pocono starts. Logano and Kyle had the cars to beat, and Kenseth did just that by leading laps 88 and 160.

If the 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. had only not had that pit road penalty. Who am I kidding? That car was junk much of the day, but it sure looked pretty. As it turned out, their fuel strategy worked pretty well, at least enough to give them an undeserved fourth place finish.

If Brad Keselowski had not gone bowling for dollars, using his crew as pins, maybe his runner-up finish could have been one better. It takes time to complete a stop after sending your jack man flying and putting your tire changer on the hood as his fresh Goodyear goes bouncing to hither and yon. By the way, you do not have to take equipment out of the stall to get a penalty. Sending it flying on its own gets you docked some extra time just as well.

If not for the woes of others, Greg Biffle, Allmendinger, and Tony Stewart might not have picked up Top Tens on the day. I believe their feelings on the matter might be something like “it sure sucks to be them.”

If Tony can rebound to form at Watkins Glen next Sunday, where he has won five before, or if Allmendinger can repeat, all of a sudden their respective seasons perk right up. If Jeff Gordon could take his fifth or Harvick his second on the road course, it would be nice, but there are those in greater need.

If Kyle could win a third race at the Glen, the waiting would be over, the standings reset, and just five places in the Chase would remain open to non-winners.

If a first-time winner emerges on Sunday, make that four spots open.

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