Tuesday, June 7, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Pocono


#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started 14th, Finished 10th

Ryan Blaney peaked at the right time in the Wood Brothers’ first Pocono race since 2008, his 15th-place car climbing into 10th in the final laps for his fourth top-ten finish in the last five races.  Blaney remains 15th in the point standings with a chance at squeezing into a Chase berth, and appears likely to break into the win column as he returns to tracks where he’s competed in Cup before.

Blaney finished 24th in both Michigan races last year, but timed in a strong 5th in qualifying for the June race.  He also finished runner-up in the Truck Series race last August, where he was edged by Kyle Busch by two-tenths of a second.  The Wood Brothers have also excelled at the 2-mile oval, having won there 11 times in 92 starts, most recently Dale Jarrett’s electrifying photo finish in 1991 that gave the second-generation driver his first Cup win.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Josh Wise
Started 38th, Finished 27th

The remaining three Open drivers ran inside the Bottom Five during the opening laps, but all three were buoyed by the late-race misfortunes of several top contenders.  This week, the group finished ahead of Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and Austin Dillon.  Josh Wise and The Motorsports Group comes home with their best finish of the year, improving on their previous mark of 33rd at Bristol.  Wise earned the Lucky Dog on Lap 104 when Michael Annett wrecked in Turn 1 and ended up the third car one lap down.  The team also comes home second in class among Open teams for the first time since Phoenix in March.

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Started 40th, Finished 28th

Just as they did a year ago at the same track, Premium Motorsports switched its two drivers, putting Reed Sorenson in the #98 for the first time in 2016.  The all-black Chevrolet also finished just one lap down, one spot behind Josh Wise, and tied Bristol for the team’s third-best finish of the season.

Sorenson has 12 Cup starts at Michigan, where he finished a career-best 5th and 8th in his first two starts in 2006.  He has not run in Cup at the track since August of 2014, when he came home 27th for Tommy Baldwin Racing.  Last August, the Premium Motorsports team had a forgettable weekend at the track when Timmy Hill was parked after nine laps for a persistent oil leak.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
Started 37th, Finished 30th

Premium Motorsports’ switch put Cole Whitt in the #55, which for the first time ran the white-and-purple Vydox Plus scheme.  While running within a few spots of Wise and Sorenson inside the final ten laps, Whitt pulled behind the wall with rear gear issues, making him the last retiree of the day.  He still managed to hang onto the 30th spot, a full five laps ahead of Kyle Busch.

Whitt’s best finish in four Michigan starts was a 27th last August for Front Row Motorsports.  He has never finished worse than 32nd at the track, nor more than three laps down.




#26 BK Racing
#35 Front Row Motorsports
#40 Hillman Racing
#59 Leavine Family / Circle Sport Racing
#93 BK Racing

None of the part-time teams returned to attempt Pocono.

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