CONCORD, N.C. – Sticking with the theme of racing in northern states, Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Cup Series head to Pocono Raceway for this weekend’s points-paying event. The race will be the track's lone date on the calendar for the sport’s top series. 

At 2.5 miles in length, the facility itself (a triangle) is one of the longest left-turn tracks the tour will visit. To begin, drivers will build quite a bit of speed as they head down the long front straightaway. Into turn one, 14 degrees of banking allow for that speed to be carried through to the "Long Pond Straight" as the field heads to the difficult turn two. With only eight degrees of banking, the second turn, also known as "The Tunnel Turn," forces drivers to be cautiously aggressive as they head to turn three. Now working with only six degrees of banking, competitors must manage throttle time in order to build a run to the start/finish line.

Each of the three turns are modeled after different tracks. Turn one is patterned after Trenton Speedway, turn two after Indianapolis Motor Speedway and turn three is modeled after the Milwaukee Mile. Each requires a little something different to be successful. 

Hendrick Motorsports’ 19 wins at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, venue are the most by any team in the Cup Series. Team vice chairman Jeff Gordon leads the way with six wins, while Jimmie Johnson and Tim Richmond each earned three in their time with Rick Hendrick’s team. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s two wins came in a sweep of the 2014 events. Geoff Bodine, Terry Labonte, Kasey Kahne, Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott have each found victory lane once for the team.

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While Kyle Larson has yet to visit victory lane at Pocono, the driver of the No. 5 Chevy has been tantalizingly close, specifically in 2021. During the first of two races in the same weekend, Larson held the point position entering turn three on the last lap. Unfortunately, a flat tire at the most inopportune time allowed his teammate Bowman to win and resulted in Larson's ninth-place finish. The next day, the Elk Grove, California, native would settle for second after fuel milage came into play on the long track. His 5.33 average finish in the last three Pocono races is the best in the series and his four-race streak of top-10 finishes is the best active mark at the track. 

Elliott enters Pocono as the defending race winner in a victory that came after the top-two finishers failed post-race inspection. His 11.00 average finish in the last four races at Pocono is the sixth-best among Sunday's field. The 27-year-old driver has four top-fives and eight top-10s in 13 starts. With six regular-season races, he sits 60 markers back from the final provisional playoff spot. Outside of his primary responsibilities, Elliott will get extra seat time in the No. 17 entry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday afternoon. The attempt will be the first time he has competed in the car for Hendrick Motorsports. 

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While the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was not the day the No. 24 team was looking for, Pocono should be a welcome change of pace. Dating back to his rookie year in 2018, William Byron has yet to finish outside the top 20 and has five top-10 results (his fourth-most at any one track) in nine starts. In his last four starts, the No. 24 entry also has an average finish of 8.50, which is third-best among drivers in Sunday's field. Byron enters this event second in regular-season points, just 17 markers off the top spot. 

Carrying the co-sponsorship of Ally and Best Friends this weekend, Bowman is in search of his second win in the Pennsylvania mountains. In his last four starts at the 2.5-mile facility, he has finished inside the top-11 spots in each event, highlighted by his lone victory at the track. During that stretch of time, his 7.00 average finish is the second-best among drivers in Sunday's field. As far as points are concerned, Bowman enters 42 points below the projected cutline, but this track serves as a great chance to really chip into that deficit. 

Here's what you need to know to catch this weekend’s action.


Group practice for the Cup Series will take place on Saturday, July 22 and begin at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports App. USA Network will join in progress at 3 p.m. ET. Group qualifying will begin immediately after practice at 3:20 p.m. ET, with coverage also available on USA Network. All four Hendrick Motorsports cars are in Group B. 

The Xfinity Series will kick off their on-track activity with a 30-minute practice taking place on Friday, July 21, at 3:35 p.m. ET with coverage on USA Network. Qualifying will follow practice and begin at 4:05 p.m. ET with coverage also on USA Network.


The 400-mile Cup Series main event is scheduled for Sunday, July 23 at 2:30 p.m. ET with coverage on USA Network. A post-race show will take place on Peacock

Elliott’s debut in the No. 17 entry will take place on Saturday, July 22 at 5:30 p.m. ET with coverage available on USA Network


The Cup Series and Xfinity Series races will be broadcast on MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).


Yes. Download the NBC Sports App or Peacock for online coverage. Fans can also keep up with the action on Twitter by following @TeamHendrick

Data provided by Racing Insights

2: Bowman has won on the next two tracks the tour will visit (Pocono and Richmond Raceway)

6: In the six tracks leading up to the playoffs, Elliott has finished first or second at five of them.

9: Top-five results for Larson this season. By adding another at New Hampshire, he now has the most top fives of any Cup Series driver.

9.1: Average running position of Byron in 2023. This is the highest of any competitor in the sport’s top division. 

17: Number of times a driver from Hendrick Motorsports has won at least four races through the first 20 events of a season (Byron is the most recent this season).