NASCAR returns to Pocono this Sunday for the Pennsylvania 400, aka the Windows 10 400. And since we’ve already given you our Pocono tailgating Fast Facts, this time around we’re handing out some information about the racetrack itself. Here are five Fast Facts you might not know.
Pocono is unique because of its “Tricky Triangle” layout, but you probably didn’t know that it’s taking its cues from a trio of other racing venues. Turn one, with its 14-degree banking, is modeled on the old Trenton Speedway. Turn two, with a smaller nine-degree banking, takes after the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, which has just a six-degree banking, can be compared to the Milwaukee Mile in Wisconsin. So if you’ve ever wondered what it’d be like to smash some of the nation’s racetracks together, well, now you know.
Most NASCAR tracks are owned by one of two companies: Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (which owns Bristol, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Loudon, Kentucky, Sonoma and Texas) or International Speedway Corporation (which oversees a dozen others including Fontana, Darlington, Daytona, Martinsville and Talladega). By contrast, Pocono is a family-run business, operated jointly by the Igdalski and Mattioli families.
Pocono’s overall track records for both qualifying and race speed belong to former NASCAR and current Verizon IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who set them upon his return to open wheel racing last year. Montoya reached 223.871 MPH during qualifying and 202.402 MPH in the race during last year’s Pocono IndyCar 500. Unsurprisingly, he won the race. For NASCAR, Kyle Larson holds the qualifying record (183.438 MPH) while Jeff Gordon is the race titleholder (145.384 MPH).
It probably won’t surprise you to know that Gordon has had particular success at Pocono. In 2011, his victory there enabled him to tie Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third place on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list. The next year, he won there again, becoming the winningest driver in Pocono Raceway history with six victories. It’s one of four venues where Gordon owns or co-owns the title for most trips to Victory Lane.
Speaking of the 2012 Pennsylvania 500, it will also be remembered for being shortened due to rainstorms in which a fan was tragically killed by a lightning strike and nine others were injured. Just months later in October, Pocono would be one of the many businesses to suffer damage from Hurricane Sandy, including the destruction of its steeple and the loss of part of Victory Tower’s roof. Yet the track has been rebuilt and is better than ever.
The Pennsylvania 400 takes place this Sunday, August 2 at 1:30 p.m. ET.