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Drivers like idea of more NASCAR Cup doubleheaders

NASCAR America reviews the playoff standings after an action-packed weekend at Pocono, assesses the performances of the Cup Series rookies, and previews the upcoming race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Last weekend’s NASCAR Cup doubleheader at Pocono Raceway drew strong reviews, with several drivers hoping the sanctioning body continues the practice going forward.

Among those was Brad Keselowski, who took to social media and said emphatically, “I loooooovvvee the idea of running twice on a weekend. … Big thumbs up, NASCAR, and everybody else who pulled it off from the teams, track officials and everybody else.

“I think it was a big success. I hope everybody liked it.”

Added Kevin Harvick, who won Saturday’s Cup race and finished second to Denny Hamlin on Sunday: “I think the format was great. … I think overall everybody would be super happy with a much shorter season and multiple doubleheaders. Yeah, I think it went well.”

If there was a downside to the weekend to fully determine just how much of a success it was, it was the lack of fans in the grandstands.

Much like most other tracks that have held NASCAR events since the return from the COVID-19 hiatus, Pocono Raceway did not have fans for the entire weekend, which featured five races over three days: the two Cup races as well as single races for the Xfinity Series, Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series.

While drivers liked the hop-in-and-drive format, with no practice or qualifying, the doubleheader weekend did make things harder on teams in terms of preparation for both races, as well as scrambling to repair damage from Saturday’s race to run the same car Sunday.

NASCAR gave teams additional time in the garage for preparation and setup both before and after Saturday’s race, as well as before Sunday’s race.

“It’s very hard on the race teams,” said Hamlin’s crew chief, Chris Gabehart. “We didn’t leave the racetrack till after 11 (Saturday night). You drive over a half hour to the hotel, got to be back here at 7 (a.m. ET).

“There’s a lot of work that goes on in-between preparing a car that just raced 325 miles to race again for 350 miles, put a professional product on the racetrack.”

But, Gabehart said: “This is very hard, but these teams are the best in the business. Whatever NASCAR wants to do, we’ll support and adapt.”

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