# Pocono Raceway by the Numbers

Pocono Raceway is one of the most unique tracks NASCAR visits — and the diametric opposite of our last race on the streets of Chicago. So here’s a look at the track the way I see it: Pocono by the Numbers.

## Shape

Pocono is nicknamed “The Tricky Triangle” due to it’s shape. It is a rounded scalene triangle, as the graphic below shows.

Scalene triangles have different lengths on each of their three sides. If all three sides are different lengths, trigonometry tells us that the three angles of the triangle are also different.

The fact that the three turns all have different turn radii makes Pocono tricky; however, each turn also has different banking. Let’s look at the banking:

• Turn 1: 14 degrees, like the defunct Trenton Speedway — which was a pretty unique-shaped track as well
• Turn 2: 8 degrees, modeled after next week’s track, Indianapolis Speedway.
• Turn 3: 6 degrees, which is similar to my home track, the Milwaukee Mile

So there are not only three different turn radii, there are different amounts of banking in each corner. That poses a huge challenge for crew chiefs, who know in advance that they will have to compromise because there’s no way to set up the car to be good in all three turns.

For comparison: The radii for the three Pocono turns range from 675 ft to 800 ft. In comparison, the turn radii at Daytona are a little short of 1000 feet.

## Lengths

In addition to its configuration, Pocono is the longest non-superspeedway track on the schedule at 2.5 miles in length or 2,057 Austin Cindrics.

That breaks down to

• Frontstretch: 3,740 feet — for comparison, that’s only 60 feet shorter than Daytona’s straighaway.
• Backstretch: 3,055 feet
• Shortstretch: 1,780 feet

Adding up those distances shows that 8,575 feet out of the total 13,200 are straightaways. Straights make up 64.9% of each lap, while turns comprised the remaining 35.1%. That’s a lot more straightaway than most other tracks.

For comparison, Daytona is only 55.4% straights by length. Las Vegas is 48.5% and the Charlotte oval 44%.

Martin Truex Jr. pointed out one advantage of long straightaways.

“You actually have a little bit of time to think about things, what’s going on,” Truex said. “And so it makes it a little easier from a mental standpoint to kind of understand what’s all happening around you how the race is going and things like that… You know, time to talk to your crew when you can actually hear them.”

## How the Track Challenges the Cars

The high percentage of straightaways means drivers spend a lot more time on throttle at Pocono than at many other tracks. In the last 12 races, eight drivers have blown engines, accounting for a little less than 2% of all finishes. Engines are the second most-frequent DNF cause at Pocono in the last 12 races.

Like most tracks, accidents are the biggest cause of DNFS at Pocono, with 30 DNFs (6.6%) out of the total 458 cars that have run the last 12 races.

Pocono also challenges brakes given very long straightaways and very tight corners. How a driver gets into a corner impacts how they exit the corner. Corner exit speed determines the maximum speed that driver can reach down the straightaway. The longer the straightaway, the more important that maximum speed is.

Keep an eye out for glowing brake rotors during the race, which indicate that the driver is pushing the brakes to their limits.

The final concern many drivers have expressed is getting over the bumps in Turn 2, which is also called the Tunnel Turn because the tunnel that leads into the infield is underneath that turn. Those ‘bridge freezes before road’ signs are there because bridges have air underneath them instead of dirt. The lack of a thermal sink (like a huge mass of dirt in contact with a surface) means that bridges experience much greater temperature changes.

Temperature changes mean contraction and expansion — at a different rate that other parts of the track. If you watch drivers going through turn 2, you’ll see the bump there.

“For us with the NextGen car, the bumps are a pretty big challenge,” Austin Cindric said. “You have a lot less tools in the toolbox as far as how to make a race car compliant.”

He went on to mention the height limitations and the need to not damage the diffuser as concerns for getting over the bumps.

“One of the biggest challenges (is) the tunnel turn and connecting your run from turn one to turn three and that’s where I’m hoping to see us make some progress today.”

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