Axalta Presents the Pocono 400

NASCAR leaves one of its most unique tracks and heads to another. But while it is difficult to find a suitable comparative to Dover International Speedway, the same is not true of Pocono Raceway.

HAMPTON, GA - MARCH 05: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Autotrader Ford, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 5, 2017 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

The triangular shape of Pocono certainly makes it one of NASCAR’s oddest looking courses, but the length of the track and flat corners has a lot of similarities to the rectangular Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Both tracks are out of NASCAR’s norm in terms of their geometry and that fact is significant because it changes a drivers approach on entry.

There are two factors that allow drivers to race hard into the corners of a similarly-configured, 1.5- and two-mile track. One is the steeper banking used on those tracks than NASCAR’s flat corners. But the other is the shape of the corners that allow racers to set and even change their groove once they are committed to the turn. At Pocono and Indy, the line is determined on entry, not nearly as much time is spent in the corners compared to the rest of the track, and it is difficult to overcome a mistake.

Even if a driver does not make any mistakes, they can be put in a difficult situation if another car gets to their inside. There is not a lot of two abreast racing through the corners, but that does not mean there is not a lot of passing.

In order to overtake another driver, one has to back up to the previous corner. The most successful drivers on most courses are those who get the best run off the turn, but this is particularly true on flat tracks. A car must enter easily and the driver must accelerate at the perfect spot at the apex.


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