Every driver that is under the radar needs to make a statement. Whether it's a run of bad luck, recovering from a bad race, or in some cases racing for a ride. Sunday at Pocono was one of those days.
Fresh asphalt, along with some surprising penalties on pit road, were the lead stories as the race wore on. However, when the checkered flag fell, a statement was made by a young driver that has been under the radar ever since entering Sprint Cup competition. Some say he was too young when he started, even by his own admission, but the hope was that he would change.
Finally, the hopes are done. One young man in a high-profile ride shut up his critics.
Joey Logano on Saturday went out and scored his second straight pole at Pocono. Last August, he was on track to likely battle for a win, but only to have a cut tire late in the race cause him to finish mid-pack, and add some disappointment to an already difficult Cup career.
This time, even with an aggressive pass, Logano made a statement that he is the real deal. Logano had a fast car all afternoon, and went onto winning his second career Cup event, this time by taking the checkered flag and not relying on weather to bring it to him.
The win didn't give any writers a win this time, but a majority had a strong showing, with seven writers finishing in the top-five, and allowing a new writer to go atop the standings.
Here's where everyone stands after the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR:
Kelly Crandall (495) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (2)
Billy Fellin (494) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (2)
James Broomhead (487) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (2)
Sal Sigala Jr. (481) Kyle Busch finished 30th (1)
Christopher Leone (480) Kyle Busch finished 30th (0)
Misan Akuya (476) Tony Stewart finished 3rd (1)
Rob Tiongson (463) Jeff Gordon finished 19th (3)
Kara Martin (461) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (1)
Dustin Parks (457) Brad Keselowski finished 18th (1)
Michael Hirshbein (418) Kyle Busch finished 30th (1)
Patti Rodisch (412) Jeff Gordon finished 19th (1)
Ryan O'Hara (403) Denny Hamlin finished 5th (1)
Next Race: If repaved tracks and fast speeds are your cup of tea, and Pocono already showcased what can happen, then next week is going to be fun for everyone. The track is shorter, but there is higher banking. It also means way faster speeds.
NASCAR heads to the home of the auto manufacturers. The Irish hills of Michigan are calling the best in the country, as well as a freshly paved surface on the Michigan International Speedway. Speeds at Pocono were at record pace, but the D-shaped oval of Michigan will surely shatter any of those speeds seen on Sunday.
Once again, it will make things interesting when making a choice for victory. But, the writers must do that, and have their picks for the Quicken Loans 400 in by 10 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 14.