CONCORD, N.C. – Pocono Raceway, better known as the “Tricky Triangle,” is a track unlike any other in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The triangle configuration is two-and-half miles long with three distinct turns. Turn 1 is banked at 14 degrees, Turn 2 has eight degrees of banking and Turn 3 is six degrees.
A unique track like Pocono requires slightly different preparation than for more standard tracks.
This week, take a look at a few facts about the way Hendrick Motorsports takes on the “Tricky Triangle” and see how the team has found success at the three-turn track.
1) Hendrick Motorsports prepares cars for Pocono with a focus on shifting.
During the 400-mile race, drivers will frequently shift gears as they encounter different parts of the track. Often drivers will use fourth gear on the front straightaway to achieve a high speed and then will downshift to third gear in the tight turns.
2) There is an equal focus on providing high-performance brakes.
As the cars head into turns and switch gears, a good brake package is essential. The team at Hendrick Motorsports works to make sure that the brakes can handle the stress of frequent usage.
3) The cars will qualify on Sunday in race trim.
For most races, qualifying occurs one or two days before race day. However, on Sunday at Pocono the drivers will qualify at 11:30 a.m. ET prior to the start of the race at 3 p.m. ET. Due to the tight time frame, the cars will qualify in race trim. Race trim is a setup that is optimized for the race whereas the trim that is typically used for qualifying is optimized for top speed.
4) Hendrick Motorsports has scored 17 wins at Pocono Raceway.
The organization has found success at the three-turn track many times since 1984. A total of 17 victories at Pocono have come via seven different drivers: Jeff Gordon (six), Jimmie Johnson (three), Tim Richmond (three), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Geoff Bodine, Terry Labonte and Kasey Kahne.
5) Jeff Gordon holds multiple NASCAR Cup Series records at Pocono.
Gordon reached a record-setting race speed of 145.384 mph at Pocono Raceway on June 12, 2011. He has accumulated six Pocono wins (1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2011, 2012), the most of any driver at the track, and his 20 top-five finishes are tied for the most all-time. Gordon has also led a total of 1,040 laps at the venue, the most of any of any Cup driver.