An aerial view of Pocono Raceway taken from a passing jetliner in late March 2014
T-1 Camaro goes clockwise on the Pocono Raceway's front stretch, 1999
Victory Lane at Pocono during pre-race ceremonies at the 2005 Pocono 500
Pocono Raceway (formerly Pocono International Raceway) also known as The Tricky Triangle, is a superspeedway located in the Pocono Mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. It is the site of two annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races held several weeks apart in early June and late July, one NASCAR Xfinity Series event in early June, one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in late July, and two ARCA Racing Series events, one in early June and the other in late July. From 1971 to 1989, and since 2013, the track has also hosted an Indy Car race, currently sanctioned by the IndyCar Series and run in August.
Pocono is one of only three NASCAR tracks not owned by either Speedway Motorsports, Inc. or International Speedway Corporation, the dominant track owners in NASCAR. The other two tracks that hold this distinction are Dover International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pocono CEO Nick Igdalsky and President Ben May, are members of the family-owned Mattco Inc, started by Joseph II and Rose Mattioli. Mattco also owns South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Virginia.
Outside the IndyCar Series and NASCAR races, Pocono is used throughout the year by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) as well as many other clubs and organizations. The triangular track also has three separate infield sections of racetrack – the north course, east course and south course. Each of these infield sections use a separate portion of the track to complete a lap. 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.
Designed by the 1959 and 1962 Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward, Pocono Raceway has a unique design. Each turn is modeled after a turn at a different track. Turn one (14 degree banking) was modeled after Trenton Speedway, turn two (also known as the "Tunnel Turn") is like Indianapolis Motor Speedway (nine degree banking), and turn three (6 degree banking) is similar to the Milwaukee Mile. It may be considered 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 nearly a triangle. An additional complication is that the three turns are in no way the same, nor are any of the three straights identical in length. The banking of each turn is considerably less than on many other long superspeedways. Although the track is long [2.5 mi (4.023 km)], the sharp nature of the turns and the low banking tend to make the average speeds lower than at other tracks of similar lengths. Because of its unique characteristics, Pocono is sometimes referred to as a roval (an oval track that behaves like a road course). Others refer to Pocono as a modified road course, due to the use of shifting gears to handle the range between the slowest turn and the fastest straightaway.
The unique design makes the setup of the car and the crew's ability to make chassis adjustments more crucial than at many other tracks. Often it is the difference between a winning performance and a poor performance.
In 1991 some drivers in NASCAR (notably Mark Martin) experimented with shifting gears down the long, 3,740 foot front straight. The ratios for third gear and fourth gear were set so that third was used for most of the circuit (including the turns), and fourth was used for the later part of the long front stretch. This method provided a better RPM range around the track and improved overall lap times. By 1993, the entire field was shifting at Pocono, and using a special transmission (manufactured by Jerico) to shift gears without using the clutch. Shifting was criticized by some drivers (Rusty Wallace stated that the Jerico took away the ability to pass cars while Terry Labonte called it "a pain in the butt"). However, the practice continued until 2005, when a new gear rule eliminated the effectiveness of shifting. In 2011 the gear rule was changed again, and shifting returned to Pocono.
IndyCar races at Pocono
From 1971 to 1989, first USAC and then the CART IndyCar World Series 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). Following the 1989 race, however, the track was criticized for its roughness, lack of catch fencing and runoff areas. After continuing squabbles between the management and the sanctioning body, it was removed from the IndyCar schedule.
Scott Dixon talks to the press after winning the Pocono IndyCar 400 in 2013.
In the wake of a meeting between Pocono CEO Brandon Igdalsky and IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard at the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, speculation developed throughout 2012 regarding the possibility of a 2013 IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway. On the September 30, 2012, edition of Speed Channel's WindTunnel with Dave Despain, Bernard officially confirmed that the IndyCar Series would return to Pocono with a 400-mile race on July 7, 2013. Further acknowledging Pocono's place in IndyCar history, Bernard also announced that from 2013, the Indianapolis 500, Pocono IndyCar 400 and MAVTV 500 at California's Auto Club Speedway would mark a revival of IndyCar's all-oval Triple Crown. A $1 million bonus will be paid to a driver who wins all three races in a single season.
During the 2015 ABC Supply 500, Andretti Autosport driver Justin Wilson was struck in the head by Sage Karam's nose cone after he crashed in turn 1 late in the race. Wilson died from his injuries on August 24, 2015, the day after the race, at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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.
Pocono Raceway and IndyCar announce the return of the Tricky Triangle to the IndyCar schedule starting in 2013.
- 1971: Schaefer Beer agrees to sponsor Pocono's Indycar 500.
- July 3, 1971: Mark Donohue wins the inaugural USAC Pocono 500. NASCAR Grand National regulars Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough finish 28th and 32nd respectively.
- July 1972: Massive flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Agnes forced postponement of the Schaefer 500 to late July, in conjunction with USAC's Pennsylvania 500 for stock cars; Pocono became the first track to hold back-to-back 500 mile races in one weekend. Joe Leonard won the Schaefer 500 while Roger McCluskey drove a Plymouth Superbird to win the Pennsylvania 500.
- July 20 to July 29, 1973: The Pocono State Fair offered performances by Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, Mac Davis, the Jackson Five, Helen Reddy, Sammy Davis Jr., Lawrence Welk, and other stars.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 battling HIV. Richmond was the first HIV positive race car driver to win a major race, this wasn't revealed for nearly four years.
- July 20, 1986: 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 No. 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 Indycar 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.
- 1999: Bobby Labonte sweeps both races at Pocono.
- June 18, 2000: Jeremy Mayfield knocked 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 (a guardrail with wooden supports) that lined the inside of the track in that area. Soon afterward, all outdated barriers at the track were replaced with sturdier walls. The race was shortened by 25 laps due to this repair and rain delays throughout the race, Bill Elliott won the race.
- 2004: The SAFER barrier is installed in all the turns.
- 2006: NASCAR's Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin sweeps both races of the 2006 season at Pocono.
- June 6, 2008: Pocono Raceway becomes one of the first NASCAR tracks in the country to utilize barcode-based ticketing.
- 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.
- 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 the NASCAR Cup Series since Ricky Rudd in 1998. The double-file restart shootout style restart procedure was introduced at the race for the first time at a NASCAR Cup Series points race.
- June 6, 2010: With two laps to go, Kevin Harvick turned Joey Logano, setting up a green white checkered finish. On the last lap, Kasey Kahne, who had been one of the fastest cars in the race found himself in the back of the pack on late race restart due to different pit strategies playing out, got a huge run on teammate A.J. Allmendinger and Allmendinger proceeded to force a flying Kahne going a good 10 mph quicker, into the grass causing him to spin and he was hit by Mark Martin and Greg Biffle, and flew through the air, landing on top of the wall and completely destroying several hedges outside the track due to the absence of a catch fence and he was hit by Jeff Gordon and several others as his car came to a rest on the track, due to the track being blocked. Both Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle said that the wreck was Allmendinger's fault as he had forced a much faster Kasey Kahne into the wet grass, causing him to spin to the right across the track in front of a little over half the field. Kahne stated that he would not speak to Allmendinger, and that he usually did not anyways, because there had been tension between the two for a while. Kahne did not like the way his young teammate drove, and during a night race at Phoenix the previous year Kasey Kahne was catching Allmendinger on the track, when Allmendinger began weaving to the left and right as though he was taunting teammate Kasey Kahne, prompting Kahne to say over the team radio "What the hell's Allmendinger doing`!?". Denny Hamlin cruised home to his third victory at Pocono.
- July 31, 2010: The Camping World Truck Series raced for the first time at Pocono in the Pocono Mountains 125. It used a multi-truck qualifying format in which successive trucks were sent out 25 seconds apart. Elliott Sadler won the inaugural Truck Series event at Pocono.
- August 1, 2010: Jimmie Johnson clipped Kurt Busch on the Long Pond Straightaway and Busch spun across the track. Behind him Elliott Sadler was turned by teammate A. J. Allmendinger and collided with the inside guardrail so savagely it ripped the engine out of the car and threw it to the entrance of the Tunnel Turn. Sadler's wrecked car slid to a stop back on the track and despite being shaken and suffering some pain, he would climb out of the car slowly and was able to walk to the ambulance. The crash was recorded as the hardest hit in NASCAR history. This wreck (along with Kasey Kahne's crash in the spring race) aroused concern over the safety of the track and renovations were made to improve safety, adding SAFER barriers to the inside retaining wall and a catch fence on the Long Pond Straightaway. Greg Biffle won the race, days after owner Jack Roush was involved in a plane crash.
- June 12, 2011: Jeff Gordon scored his 84th NASCAR Cup Series win, tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for 3rd on the all time win list.
- August 7, 2011: Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Cup Series race just three days after sustaining an injury in a test crash at Road Atlanta. This would be the final 500-mile NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway, when two days later NASCAR announced that starting in 2012 both NASCAR Cup events would be changed from 500 to 400 miles.
- October 4, 2011: Improvement projects were announced, including repaving the track, installing a new flag stand, making the pit stalls concrete, and adding a new pit wall. This was the first time the track has been repaved since 1995. The new flag stand came from an incident in which a Camping World Truck Series hauler clipped the old stand and destroyed it in August 2011.
- January 26, 2012: Founder and chairman of the board for Pocono Raceway, Joseph Mattioli, dies after a long illness.
- January 31, 2012: After a viewing and a funeral, Mattioli took his last lap around Pocono Raceway.
- April 25–26, 2012: Pocono Raceway hosts a Goodyear Tire Test for NASCAR Cup Series and Camping World Truck series teams, the first event held following the repaving project.
- August 5, 2012: Jeff Gordon clinches his first win of the 2012 season and extends his all-time leading six wins at Pocono in the 2012 Pennsylvania 400 after the race ended due to a rainstorm. A fan was killed by a lightning strike, while nine others were injured.
- October 2012: Pocono Raceway suffers damage from Hurricane Sandy, such as the steeple being destroyed, the Victory Tower roof being partially missing, and power outages.
- June 8, 2013: Chase Elliott wins the Pocono ARCA 200, becoming the youngest ARCA Racing Series superspeedway winner in series history at the age of 17 years and 6 months.
- July 7, 2013: Scott Dixon wins the 2013 Pocono IndyCar 400, the first Indy car race at Pocono since 1989.
- July 6, 2014: Juan Pablo Montoya in the Team Penske number 2 car won the Pocono 500 from the pole. The race would set an international motorsports record as the, "Fastest 500 Mile Race in History". The race had an average speed of 202.402 mph, shattering the previous record of 197.995 mph from a 2002 open wheel race at California Speedway.
- August 3, 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins the GoBowling.com 400, becoming the most recent NASCAR driver to sweep Pocono's Cup Series events in a season.
- August 23, 2015: Ryan Hunter-Reay wins the ABC Supply 500 IndyCar race. On lap 179, Sage Karam spun and a piece of debris from his car struck Justin Wilson on the head, knocking Wilson unconscious and sending him into the wall. Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, where he died the following day.
- June 4th, 2016: The NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Pocono for the first time in the Pocono Green 250. Kyle Larson would go on to win the race after persistent rain showers ended the race after 53 of the scheduled 100 laps.
- August 1, 2016: Chris Buescher gets his first career win in the fog shortened 2016 Pennsylvania 400 after stretching his fuel window.
- June 10th, 2017: The second running of the Pocono Green 250 goes the full 100-lap/250-mile distance with Brad Keselowski making a last lap pass on the inaugural race's winner Kyle Larson on the backstretch.
- June 11, 2017: Ryan Blaney holds off Kevin Harvick to win his first ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in the 2017 Axalta presents the Pocono 400.
2006 Pennsylvania 500
at the Pocono ARCA race in June 1996. Steele, a 3-time ARCA Champion, would win 9 ARCA races at Pocono, the most by a driver in a single series at the track.
- NASCAR qualifying: Kyle Larson, 183.438 mph (295.215 km/h), August 1, 2014
- NASCAR race: Jeff Gordon, 145.384 mph (233.972 km/h), June 12, 2011
- CART qualifying: Emerson Fittipaldi, 211.715 mph (340.722 km/h), 1989
- CART race: Danny Sullivan, 170.720 mph (274.747 km/h), 1989
- IndyCar qualifying: Juan Pablo Montoya, 223.871 mph (360.285 km/h), July 5, 2014 *Overall track record
- IndyCar race: Juan Pablo Montoya, 202.402 mph (325.734 km/h), July 6, 2014 *Overall Track Record
- Most open-wheel wins: A. J. Foyt 4, 1973,1975,1979,1981
- Most wins in one series: Tim Steele, 9, ARCA Racing Series
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series records
(As of 30/07/17)
* from minimum five starts
In July 2010 Pocono Raceway began the installation of a 3 megawatt solar photovoltaics system. Upon completion the racetrack became the largest solar-powered sports facility in the world. The "solar farm" encompasses approximately 25 acres and consists of almost 40,000 solar modules, which satisfies the energy consumption for the entire racing complex and will help power 1,000 homes. By December 2010, with less than four months in operation, the Pocono system had surpassed the 1,000,000 kilowatt hour production mark. Over the next 20 years the system is expected to produce in excess of 72 million kilowatt hours and offset 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Sheep are used to keep the grass to a low level.
- ^ Pocono Raceway Staff
- ^ Reph, Liz. "Pocono Raceway". Lehigh Valley Marketplace. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- ^ SAFER barriers installation complete at Pocono Archived January 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^  Archived January 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ "Doc Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Patriarch, Passes". Poconoraceway.com. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- ^ 
- ^ David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM (2012-08-07). "Spectator killed by lightning strike at Pocono - Aug 07, 2012". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- ^ Bandoim, Lana (2012-10-31). "Hurricane Sandy Affects NASCAR: Fan View". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
- ^ a b "Castroneves gains ground at Pocono - July 6, 2014". Retrieved 2014-09-27.
- ^ "Justin Wilson in coma after suffering severe head injury during race". ESPN.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. August 24, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
- ^ Olson, Jeff (August 23, 2015). "IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in a coma after Pocono crash". USA Today. Long Pond, Pennsylvania: Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
- ^ "IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson Has Died of a Head Injury". ABC News. Indianapolis: ABC News Internet Ventures. Associated Press. August 25, 2015. Archived from the original on August 25, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
- ^ "Montoya wins IndyCar pole at Pocono". ESPN News Services. Long Pond, Pennsylvania: ESPN Internet Ventures. Associated Press. July 6, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
- ^ Pocono IndyCar 500#Past winners
- ^ "ARCAracing.com Asks, 'Where Are They Now?'; Like Dad, Like Daughter, a Steele Family Tradition". ARCA. November 24, 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
- ^ "Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Drivers' Statistics for Pocono Raceway". NASCAR. 2017-07-30. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
- ^ Pocono Raceway Takes The "Green" Flag In Solar Energy Archived December 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ "Pocono Raceway Hits One Million kWh Mark". Limelighttimes.com. 2010-12-13. Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2012-08-11.