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Pocono Raceway Race Track

Updated on July 14, 2016

One of the more unique race tracks on the NASCAR circuit is the Pocono Raceway. This track, located in Long Pond, PA, is known for its unique triangular layout. Few tracks are as quirky as Pocono, and many drivers find it a difficult day of driving.

The track is located in an area that is close to many major East Coast urban centers like New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC.

Victory lane at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.
Victory lane at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. | Source

History of Pocono Raceway

The history of the Pocono Raceway go back to the late 1960s. The Mattioli family owns the track, which held its first race on a 3/4-mile track back in 1968. Indy cars started racing on the 2.5-mile track in 1971, and the first NASCAR 500-mile race on the track was held in 1974.

The track had serious financial troubles during its early years, and nearly went bankrupt. The tracks owners decided to plod along, however, after a show of support from Bill France, Sr. The founder of NASCAR moved his series to the track in short order, and the series soon started coming to the track twice per year.

The Layout of Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway is one of the more interesting tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. Drivers have three very distinct turns on the track, which is shaped like a triangle.

Turn 1 is a relatively wide-sweeping turn that has banking that reaches 14°. Turn 2 is called the Tunnel Turn because of an access tunnel that runs underneath of it. This turn is one of the more difficult portions of the track, and it is banked at 8°. Turn 3 follows what is called the short chute, and it is a rather long and flat turn that runs onto the front straightaway. This turn has the least banking of any turn in NASCAR at only 6°.

The front straight is one of the longest in racing at 5/8-mile. The unique configuration of the track is a challenge for crew chiefs. In recent years, some drivers have made use of their gear shift to take advantage of the long front straightaway.

Pocono Raceway can accommodate over 76,000 fans for its race weekends, and the infield area has quite a bit of room for those who like camp at the track.

Races at Pocono Raceway

There have been two races at Pocono Raceway each year since the 1970s. The first is held in June and the second is held just a few weeks later in August. Both of the Sprint Cup races are now 400-mile events, known as the Pocono 400 and the Pennsylvania 400. The track has also hosted Indy cars, and this agreement resumed in 2013. The last time a major open-wheel series had raced at the track was back in 1989.

A Virtual Lap around Pocono Raceway

Records at Pocono Raceway

The fastest qualifying lap in Pocono history averaged just under 180 miles per hour. Joey Logano turned this lap in 2012. Indy cars can obviously go faster, and Marco Andretti turned a lap at over 221 mph in 2013.

Richard Petty won the first 500-mile NASCAR race at Pocono. Jeff Gordon has won a record six races at the track overall. Mark Martin has both the most top-5 and top-10 finishes in the track's history.

Jeff Gordon won the fastest race every in Pocono history. In 2011, Gordon finished a 500-mile race at an average speed of just over 145 mph.

Ken Schrader has the NASCAR record for poles at the track with five.


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    • anotherleftturn profile image

      Mike Roush 4 years ago from Newark, DE

      The racing has improved. Thanks to a track resurfacing and a shortened distance it's not as bad as it once was. But there are far better venues on the schedule for an in person experience.

    • cprice75 profile image

      cprice75 4 years ago from USA

      I've heard from a reliable source (i.e., someone who won a trip there) that the track is not the best place to watch a race in person, either. It's hard to see much of the track. Some of the races are pretty lopsided, and that makes for a boring day, IMHO.

    • jericho911 profile image

      Kenneth Claude 4 years ago from Parts Unknown

      I think it's one of the worst races to watch on television. However, I do love the Pocono Downs horse races. LOL

      Interesting hub, though. The virtual lap is cool !