Pocono Raceway


Pocono Raceway

Motorsport venue
Name = Pocono Raceway| Time = GMT-5
Location = Long Pond Road and Andretti Road
Blakeslee, PA 18610


Image_caption = Pocono Raceway Logo
Capacity = 76,812
Owner = Mattioli family
Operator = Mattioli family
Broke_ground =
Opened = 1974
Closed =
Construction_cost=
Architect =
Former_names = Pocono International Raceway
Events = NASCAR Sprint Cup
ARCA RE/MAX Series | Miles_first = True
Layout1 = Triangle
Surface = Asphalt
Length_km = 4
Length_mi = 2.5
Turns = 3
Banking = Turn 1: 14°
Turn 2: 8°
Turn 3: 6°
Record_time = 0:42.51
Record_driver = Emerson Fittipaldi
Record_team = Patrick Racing
Record_year = 1989
Record_class = CART IndyCar World Series
Pocono Raceway (formerly Pocono International Raceway) 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.

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.

Outside of the NASCAR races, Pocono is used throughout the year by sports car 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.

IndyCar races at Pocono

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 race at Pocono. In 1989, Emerson Fittipaldi set a qualifying track record of 211.715 mph. 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 to , Pocono Raceway hosted the Race of Champions Modified race. From 1977 to 1979, the race was held on the 2.5 mile 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 , the Race of Champions was moved to Flemington Raceway.

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 near-disaster. 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.

Notable Events

*August 4, 1974: Richard Petty wins the inaugural Pocono 500.

*August 1, 1976: Petty scores a popular win after David Pearson blows a tire with two laps to go.

*1985 Bill Elliott sweeps both Pocono cup races.

*1986 - 1987: 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 batteling HIV. Richmond with the win would be the first HIV positive race car driver to win a major race. However it would be nearly four years before most would know of this feat.

*July 20, 1986: Tim Richmond recovers from a crash and beats Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine in a photo finish.

*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.

*1999: Bobby Labonte sweeps both races at Pocono.

*June 18, 2000: Jeremy Mayfield knocked the late Dale Earnhardt out of his way to score his third career Winston Cup win.

*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.

*2004: The SAFER barrier is installed in all the turns.

*2006: Raybestos Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin sweeps both races at Pocono.

*June 2008 James Hylton becomes the oldest driver to race at Pocono in the ARCA series.

*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.

Criticisms

Many fans and drivers contend that the 500-mile 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, [ [http://www.nascar.com/2005/news/opinion/06/13/cross.words.pocono/index.html NASCAR.COM - Cross' Words: Pocono - Jun 13, 2005 ] ] 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 seeing the track disappear from the schedule altogether, or at least reduced to one race. [ [http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?p=1955426 SportingNews.com - Your expert source for NASCAR Auto Racing stats, scores, standings, blogs and fantasy news from NASCAR Auto Racing columnists ] ] [ [http://pocono-raceway-news.newslib.com/story/5156-3066230/ Pocono Raceway keeping two events in 2008 ] ] 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 have called for a Nationwide Series or Craftsman Truck Series support race to be held at Pocono, since it is one of only two Sprint Cup Series oval tracks (the other being Indianapolis) that is not on either the Nationwide Series or Craftsman Truck Series schedule. [ [http://pocono-raceway-news.newslib.com/story/5156-3066215/ ARCA Series is the Perfect Compliment to NASCAR at Pocono Raceway ] ] The only support event at Pocono is the ARCA series.

Races

Current

*NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Pocono 500
*NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Pennsylvania 500
*ARCA RE/MAX Series - Pocono 200
*ARCA RE/MAX Series - Pennsylvania 200

Former

*USAC and CART - Pocono 500 (Indycar) (1971-1989)

Records

*NASCAR Qualifying: Kasey Kahne 172.533 mph (277.665 km/h), 2004
*NASCAR Race: Rusty Wallace, 144.892 mph (233.181 km/h), July 21, 1996
*CART Qualifying: Emerson Fittipaldi, 211.715 mph, 1989
*CART Race: Danny Sullivan, 170.720 mph, 1989

See also

*List of NASCAR race tracks

References

External links

* [http://www.poconoraceway.com/ Pocono Raceway Official Site]
* [http://www.nascar.com/races/tracks/poc/index.html Pocono Raceway Page] on [http://www.nascar.com NASCAR.com]
* [http://motorsportsschedules.com/index.php?option=com_eventlist&Itemid=26&func=shlocevents&locatid=8 2008 Pocono Raceway Schedule]
* [http://www.trackpedia.com/wiki/Pocono_International_Raceway Trackpedia guide to driving this track]


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