Warm Up: Let's Get You Ready For Pocono

With schools out over most of the country, and the Nascar Season in full swing, it’s time to take the trek North for what most people call the Summer schedule. This is the time year we get away from the traditional race tracks and hit some of the Odd Balls.

Up next is the first of two races in a nine week period at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, sometimes referred to as “The Tricky Triangle. Both races this year have been shortened from 500 miles to 400 miles.

It’s called the Tricky Triangle because this 2.5 mile race track has three unique turns, and three unique straight a ways, challenging drivers and crew chiefs with all kinds of set-up nightmares. If that wasn’t enough of a problem, the tracks asphalt surface was re-paved after last August’s race. This means, most of the notes teams had on set-ups and track characteristic is probably defunct.

Due to the re-paving effort, Nascar will open a testing session on Wednesday where drivers can log some laps on the new surface before regular practice begins on Friday. This will give teams some time to collect new data in preperation for the weekend event.

Pocono Raceway, which was opened in 1971, is a 2.5 mile triangle shaped track, and is considered a Super Speedway, but because of the realitive  flat banking, as well as the unique corners, a restrictor plate is not needed to reduce speeds. Turn 1 is banked at 14 degrees, Turn 2(The Tunnel Turn) is banked at 8 degrees, and Turn 3 is 6 degrees. With the radii of the turns being tighter, it forces drivers to slow down considerably prior to entering the shallow banked corners.

The corners of this race track were all designed after turns at other tracks. Turn one after Trento Speedway, Turn two (The Tunnel Turn) was modeled after the Indianapolis Speedway, and Turn three is similar to the Milwaukee Mile .

The fastest lap time at Pocono was set by Emerson Fittipaldi from the CART/Indy Car League in 1989 at 0:42:51. The fastest Nascar qualifying lap was set by Kasey Kahne in 2004 at 177.533 MPH. The race record was set by Jeff Gordon at 145.388 MPH  in last spring race, making him your defending Champion.

Most Nascar wins on this track were by Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott at five, with Mark Martin logging the most Top 5’s and Top 10’s. Most starts at 55 by Rickey Rudd, and most pole by Ken Schrader at five.

Pocono Raceway is the world’s largest solar powered sports facility. The Raceway developed a 25 acre, three megawatt solar farm that provides the energy needs of the Raceway as well as adding electricity to the local power grid.

The Pocono 400 will mark the beginning of TNT’s 30th season of Nascar Sprint Cup coverage, and will return the broadcast team of  Adam Alexander, Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach. Sunday’s broadcast will start with the pre race show beginning at Noon EDT.

If you are not attending the race Sunday and will be away from your television, you can follow the race on Twitter. A new Twitter experience will give fans a complementary insider’s view of the action as it unfolds on the track and on Twitter. During a race, when fans click on #NASCAR, search for #NASCAR on Twitter.com or visit twitter.com/#NASCAR, they’ll reach a new Twitter experience where they will see the most relevant tweets from their favorite NASCAR drivers, NASCAR families, teams, commentators, celebrities and other racing fans and personalities.

In most part, the drivers do not like coming to this venue, and Dale Jr. even went so far as to say this week,  he WAS NOT looking forward to the testing they would have to endure before the actual race festivities get under way. Some drivers also expressed joy that the race had been shortened to 400 miles. Never-the-less, because of the tight turns, and the super stretch, it can make for some exciting stock car racing for us the fans. The big question will be, who will drive the Phoenix Racing #51 on Sunday?

The Nationwide Series takes a break this weekend, and the trucks take on Texas Motor Speedway Friday Night.


Image Courtesy Getty Images For Nascar.

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Tags: Jeff Gordon Kasey Kahne Kurt Busch Kyle Petty Mark Martin NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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