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NSCS: Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Preview

Written by David Morgan on . Posted in Featured, Nascar Sprint Cup Series

© 2016, Nigel Kinrade NKP

© 2016, Nigel Kinrade
NKP

Posted By: David Morgan – Follow at @damorgan86

July 29, 2016

320093After a visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads north to Pennsylvania this weekend for the second race of the year at Pocono Raceway and Sunday’s running of the Pennsylvania 400.

With only three turns, instead of the four turns at all other ovals on the circuit, Pocono is definitely one of the most unique tracks on the schedule. The three turns all have differing banking with Turn 1 and its 14 degree banking modeled after the now-defunct Trenton Speedway, Turn 2 and its nine degree banking modeled after Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Turn 3 and its six degree banking modeled after The Milwaukee Mile.

While Pocono has been chastised over the years for boring racing, these unique characteristics allow for speeds near 200 mph down each of the three straightaways and the wide frontstretch allows drivers to fan out four and even five-wide as they barrel towards Turn 1. Many drivers consider Pocono a mix between a road course and an oval, or a “roval” as some call it.

News and Notes

For Kevin Harvick, he will be flying solo without crew chief Rodney Childers this weekend after Childers was penalized by NASCAR for a lug nut violation at Indianapolis. Childers was fined $20,000, suspended through August 3rd, and will be on probation through December 31st.

Though Childers will be away from the track this weekend, he took the penalty in stride, having fun with it on Twitter.

From the Driver’s Seat

“Just the fact that it’s different in the way that each of the straightaways has its different length, the corners have their banking. It’s not a typical oval in that you get to shift at an oval track. It blends a lot of road-racing techniques into an oval technique,” said Kurt Busch.

“It’s weird, I’ve had winning cars there a few different times and turn two always feels the best when my car has a chance to go to victory lane. But, I think turn three, if you are able to pass cars and maneuver around them, you’ve got to get a good run off turn three to be ready to pass them in turn one. All of them are important. You can’t exclude one from another.”

Last Time at Pocono

Back in June, Kurt Busch rolled into Pocono without his crew chief Tony Gibson, but that didn’t matter as interim crew chief Johnny Klausmeier was up to the task of leading Busch and his No. 41 team from atop the pit box.

With Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Chase Elliott battling for the lead late in the race, Busch saw his opportunity to pounce and was able to get by both drivers into the lead. Once in the lead, Busch and the rest of the field went into fuel conservation mode and Busch was able to make up his two lap fuel deficit while keeping Earnhardt in his rear view mirror. By the time the checkered flag flew, Busch was well out in front with a 1.126 second margin of victory as he claimed his 28th win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Following Busch and Earnhardt to the finish was polesitter Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano to round out the top-five.

3-5 June, 2016, Long Pond, Pennsylvania USA Kurt Busch celebrates his win in Victory Lane © 2016, John Harrelson NKP

© 2016, John Harrelson/NKP

“It’s an amazing feeling when you get to drive into victory lane at any track, any weekend at any time, and it’s very special, because it makes you think of all the hard work that everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing put into this car.  To be in position, that’s what it’s all about.  Johnny Klausmeier called a perfect race to gamble on the fuel a little bit, but he also gave me the ball.  He’s like, hey, we’re two laps shy, go get it for us,” said Kurt Busch

“And so as a driver, we were restarting I think 10th at that point.  We had to work through some of the guys that stayed out, which you knew or I knew we could get those guys because they were really gambling on fuel, but just overall a great team effort.  It’s a lot of work at the shop, but each week we’ve been in position this year so far, and we haven’t quite sealed the deal, and so today we did, and we’re going to enjoy this win.”