2021 NASCAR Preview: Weeks 18 & 19 – Pocono

Exploring the Pocono Mountains for two days!

We’ve come to the part of our schedule where we’ve got two races in one weekend at Pocono! This is the second time they’ve done this, and last year was pretty effective. So effective…that it got me here this year! That’s right, I am IN Pennsylvania as I type this. Weather looks like it is going to be overcast today about 75, and tomorrow partly cloudy and 85. Precipitation always a threat (especially after our 2020 Daytona 500 trip, MY GOODNESS), but according to the wizards who predict the stuff it seems like we should be fine. Of course, if it DOES rain, you can’t get mad at them because “we said there was a CHANCE!!” UGH. Weathermen.

Here’s what to look for:

Kevin Harvick won the Saturday race last year (Denny Hamlin was 2nd). Last year he was scorching hot all season, this time around…not so much. Harvick has yet to hit the Winner’s Circle, and that has left him feeling less than Happy, I’m sure. Sunday is apparently #NationalSunglassesDay, and Harvick is hoping his future is so bright he’s got to wear shades. The future starts with your next race, always.

Denny Hamlin won the Sunday race last year (..Kevin Harvick was 2nd..). My earliest memories of Denny Hamlin in the Cup Series had him winning both races here as a Rookie. Pretty impressive! He’s always been on my short list of “ones to watch,” so it was satisfying to see him go 2-1 last year.

Kyle Busch won 3 of the 4 races between the Fall of 2017 and the Spring of 2019, and carries an average finish of 16th. The last time he hit Victory Lane was last week in the Xfinity Series, but it has been a little while in the Cup cars. I swore I saw him standing in a Gouldsboro Shop Rite…but it was just a cardboard standee. (No Pic, sorry!)

Aric Almirola turned in a solid performance in last year’s combo: 3rd on Saturday, 5th on Sunday. That said, he hasn’t been running in ’21 as he did then. THAT SAID, he had one of his best finishes last week at Nashville, and that will start him in the Top 10 for today’s race! If Almirola can hang up there, could an upset be in the cards? Let’s find out!

-If I came down here to watch Kyle Larson win back-to-back races..gosh, I hope that doesn’t happen. He’s the favorite to win today’s race, and why wouldn’t he be? When you’re hot, you’re hot. I would say “well, he hasn’t run this track since 2020 so everyone has an advantage over him,” but he just won on a track that hasn’t hosted a Cup race in over 30 years, haha. Watch out for this guy!


We don’t have any food that we’re preparing today, but I’ll tell you about some food we’ve eaten on this trip! Near the place we’re staying, there is Kay’s Italian Restaurant, fashioned out of an old railway dining car. I wasn’t quite expecting that when I heard “Italian Restaurant,” but I’m much more attracted to the kitsch of it all.

Kay’s Italian Restaurant (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)

Inside, they’ve got old cigarette machines and artifacts from the early 1900s. I’m not a smoker, no, but it takes me back to being 8 and getting ready to leave Perkins while pulling on the plungers for a pack of smokes. (If anyone can tell me how those Ticket deals work — like “Cigarette Beauty” — I would be very interested. Paging Bill Pucko!..)

Cigarette Machines (Photo: Mason Waske)
Antique Americana (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)
“Cigarette Beauty” (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)

Also pictured: the Super Stromboli. I wasn’t sure what was so “super” about it…until it showed up. I mean, having pepperoni, ham, salami, and two types of cheese inside is pretty exciting, but no way did I expect it to rival my arm in terms of length! We also had 30 Wings for the table with sauces we could dip in. Nice!

Super Stromboli (Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)
30 Wings (4 Sauces- Hot, Mild, Garlic Butter, and BBQ. Photo: Lisa Kuhmann)

Pretty cool place! If you find yourself in Daleville, PA, head on over to this place for a solid meal. Check out the menu at http://www.kaysitalianrestaurant.com . Thanks, Kay’s!

Coverage of today’s race starts on NBCSN at 3:00pm, green flag scheduled for 3:19pm.
Tomorrow’s installment on NBCSN goes live at 3:30pm.

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