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Pocono Raceway
Pocono Raceway.jpg
Pocono Raceway Logo
Location Long Pond Road and Andretti Road
Blakeslee, PA 18610
Time zone GMT-5
Capacity 76,812
Owner Mattioli family
Operator Mattioli family
Opened 1974
Former names Pocono International Raceway
Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup
ARCA RE/MAX Series
Camping World Truck Series
Triangle
Surface Asphalt
Length 2.5 mi (4 km)
Turns 3
Banking Turn 1: 14°
Turn 2: 8°
Turn 3: 6°
Lap record 0:42.51 (Emerson Fittipaldi, Patrick Racing, 1989, CART IndyCar World Series)

Pocono Raceway (formerly Pocono International Raceway) also known as the Tricky Triangle or the Bermuda Triangle is a superspeedway located in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania at Long Pond. It is the site of two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held just weeks apart in June and August, and one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in July.

Pocono is one of a very few NASCAR tracks not owned by either Speedway Motorsports, Inc. or International Speedway Corporation, the dominant track owners in NASCAR. It is owned by the Mattioli family, which also owns South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Virginia. The truck series will begin racing at Pocono in the 2010 season.[1]

Outside of the NASCAR races, Pocono is used throughout the year by Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and motorcycle clubs as well as racing schools. The triangular oval also has three separate infield sections of racetrack - North Course, East Course and South Course. Each of these infield sections use a separate portion of the tri-oval to complete the track. During regular non-race weekends, multiple clubs can use the track by running on different infield sections. Also some of the infield sections can be run in either direction, or multiple infield sections can be put together - such as running the North Course and the South Course and using the tri-oval to connect the two.

Contents

Track configuration

Pocono Raceway has a unique design. Each turn is modeled after turns at 3 different tracks. Turn One (14 degree banking) was modeled after the now defunct Trenton Speedway, Turn Two (also known as "The Tunnel Turn") is like Indianapolis Motor Speedway (9 degree banking), and Turn 3 (6 degree banking) is similar to The Milwaukee Mile. It could be said to be a tri-oval, but the turns are much more severe than those of a more typical tri-oval such as Daytona and the track is really nearly a triangle. They have been likened somewhat to the hairpin-style turns of road courses. An additional complication is that the three turns are not identical, nor are any of the three straights identical in length. The long frontstretch often requires a gear change due to the high RPMs attained. The banking of each turn is considerably less than on many other long ovals. Although the track is long (2.5 miles), the sharp nature of the turns and low banking tends to make the overall speeds much lower than at other tracks of similar lengths, thus restrictor plates are not needed here. For its unique characteristics, Pocono is sometimes referred to as a roval. Others refer to Pocono as a modified road course due to the use of shifting gears to handle the range between the slowest curve and the fastest straightaway.

The odd design makes the setup of the car and the crew's ability to make chassis adjustments even more crucial here than at many other tracks. Often it is the difference between a winning performance and a poor performance. Drivers tend to either love the track or hate it, largely depending on how well it suits their driving style and their crew's abilities.

a SCCA T-1 Camaro goes opposite of "NASCAR direction" on the Pocono Raceway front stretch 1999

IndyCar races at Pocono

Al Unser Jr. (#7) and Chet Fillip (#38) racing at Pocono in 1984.

From 1971 to 1989, the United States Auto Club and the CART IndyCar World Series (later the Champ Car World Series before its 2008 merger into the Indy Racing League) held a 500-mile (800 km) race at Pocono as part of the IndyCar 500-mile Triple Crown. In 1989, Emerson Fittipaldi set a qualifying track record of 211.715 mph (340.722 km/h). However, after the 1989 race, the track was criticized for its roughness and lack of safety features, and was removed from the CART schedule.

Race of Champions

From 1977 to 1991, Pocono Raceway hosted the Race of Champions Modified race. From 1977 to 1979, the race was held on the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) triangular superspeedway; from 1980 onward, the three-quarter-mile infield oval was used. Richie Evans and George Kent were the leading winners, each winning two of the fifteen RoC events at Pocono. In 1992, the Race of Champions was moved to Flemington Raceway.

Victory Lane at Pocono during pre-race ceremonies at the 2005 Pocono 500

Notable events

  • August 1, 1976: Petty scores a popular win after David Pearson blows a tire with two laps to go.
  • June 21, 1981: A.J. Foyt wins the USAC Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500. This is the final IndyCar race that USAC sanctioned at Pocono. From 1982-1989 the IndyCar races would be sanctioned by CART. It was also A.J. Foyt's final IndyCar win.
  • August 15, 1982: Rick Mears wins the CART Domino's Pizza Pocono 500, the first CART IndyCar sanctioned race.
  • 1985 Bill Elliott sweeps both Pocono cup races.
  • 19861987: Tim Richmond wins three Pocono Races in a row. The third and last was the spring race in 1987. Richmond had just returned after missing the first part of the season battling HIV. Richmond was the first HIV positive race car driver to win a major race, this wasn't revealed for nearly four years.
  • June 19, 1988: On the opening lap of the 1988 Miller High-life 500, Bobby Allison suffered career-ending injuries when he spun and was T-boned by the #63 of Jocko Maggiacomo.
  • August 21, 1988: Bobby Rahal wins the CART Quaker State 500. This was Bobby's only win of the season. It was his final win with the Truesports IndyCar team, he would leave the team at the end of the season to join team Kraco (incidentally at the end of 1989 team Kraco merged with Galles racing to form Kraco-Galles). This was also the only win ever scored for the Judd engine.
  • August 20, 1989: Danny Sullivan wins the final CART Pocono 500. This was the final year of the Indycar 500 mile triple crown.
  • July 28, 2002: Steve Park and Dale Earnhardt Jr. became entangled exiting turn one, and both cars slammed into the inside wall, causing Park's vehicle to go airborne over the hood of Earnhardt's car and barrel roll. The incident resulted in a lengthy red flag to repair the old-fashioned highway barrier that lined the inside of the track in that area. Soon afterward, all outdated barriers at the track were replaced with sturdier walls.
  • June 6, 2008: Pocono raceway becomes one of the first NASCAR tracks in the country to utilize barcode-based ticketing.[3]
  • August 2, 2008: Frank Kimmel, a 9-time ARCA Re/Max Series champion, was injured after a 3-car crash on lap 68 of a Pocono race that involved his car being clipped and slamming into the backstretch wall on the driver's side, going airborne as a result. Kimmel suffered a partially torn sphincter and pulled groin, spending the night in a local hospital before being released.
  • June 7, 2009: Tony Stewart wins the 2009 Pocono 500. In doing so, he becomes the first person who both owns and drives his car to win in Sprint Cup since Ricky Rudd in 1998.

Criticisms

Many fans and drivers contend that the 500-mile (800 km) races at Pocono take too long, and several Sprint Cup Series drivers recently admitted on FOX that Pocono was the least exciting track on the circuit, including Denny Hamlin, who swept the races in 2006, and that they would like to see them shortened to 400 miles (640 km),[4] but the track does provide some challenges to the racers crew members since they have to figure out the correct setup for all three turns which are completely different from one another. Some fans would not mind only one race at Pocono Raceway in a season. However, this is unlikely due to Dr. Mattioli's relationship with NASCAR and the track's proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia. Others called for a Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series support race to be held at Pocono, since through the 2009 season it was one of only two Sprint Cup Series oval tracks (the other being Indianapolis) that was not on either the Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series schedule. That changed in late 2009 with the announcement that the Camping World Truck Series had added Pocono to its 2010 schedule. This race will be part of the Pennsylvania 500 weekend in August.

Races

Pocono pits.PNG
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Current

Former

Records

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 41°03′19″N 75°30′41″W / 41.05539°N 75.51152°W / 41.05539; -75.51152


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