Race Day: The Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway

Published On: Jun 08 2014 11:11:33 AM CDT

Because when I think of racing, I think of doing it in a triangular pattern, NASCAR heads to the wonderfully odd shaped Pocono Raceway. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Tricky Triangle’, it provides a nice change of pace and a challenge for drivers.

“It’s definitely a tough racetrack,” said AJ Allmendinger. “You can’t really make anything perfect. You just try to get all three corners good. It seems that if you make one perfect, the other two are horrible.”

Adds Paul Menard, "Pocono is a great track as far as uniqueness, obviously. We shift (gears) there, and a lot of guys have been doing that the last couple of years which adds a different element. It's kind of like a big road course really, you just turn left. It's definitely a unique track."

And it definitely fits Denny Hamlin, who has four wins at Pocono, which is third all-time at that track.

“It’s definitely a place that we have performed well,” said Hamlin. “Even after it got paved we still performed pretty well.  It is a track I look forward to.  Really for me, I think that when they changed the track and they paved it -- it changed everything.  It really was like a whole new race track.  Same with Kansas and Michigan -- all of these tracks, as soon as they pave them they took one track and they just really threw it out and you’ve got a whole other surface, new setups, new way of driving style every single time.  I think that is the challenge for us.  We’ve got to really learn that race track again.”

Jeff Gordon can do him two better, with six career Pocono wins.

Also keep an eye on Jimmie Johnson. He has won two straight races and has three career wins at Pocono.

““We have some momentum right now,” said Johnson. “Pocono is a great track for the No. 48 team. There are a couple of things there to think about and I think it’s such a big track it’s tough to see it all from a fan perspective. But inside the car and the challenge that the crew chief face there is a lot going on around that race track. I know it is Chad’s (Knaus) favorite race track to go to because all three corners are different, the loading is different, the banking is different, and there are a bunch of tools and options to adjust the race car all the way around the track. That is what Chad really enjoys about that.”

Other Pocono winners in the race include;  Tony Stewart (2), Carl Edwards (2), Kurt Busch (2), Kasey Kahne (2), Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.

“"I think it has definitely slowed down a little bit even though our cars are a little bit faster, but to me, it's still the same track,” said Newman. “The track is pretty much the same and it remains one of my favorite tracks on the circuit."

Hamlin will lead the field to green from the pole. That green flag is set to drop around 12:18 pm Central Time. Busch, Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon make up the rest of the top five starters.