NASCAR Track Facts: Pocono Raceway

Sunoco Red Cross 500

Here is a quick run down of trivial facts and statistics for this weekend’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.

Sunoco Red Cross 500

Pocono Motor Speedway History

  • Opened in 1968 as a .75-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile oval in 1971.
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974.

Track Numbers

  • NASCAR Cup Series Races: 61
  • Pole Winners: 35
  • Race Winners: 28
  • There was one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since.
  • Buddy Baker won the first pole at Pocono.
  • David Pearson won the pole there in June 1984 but did not race. Only 14 drivers have more than one pole there.
  • All NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono have been scheduled for 500 miles. By design, the inaugural race was run to a length of 480 miles due to the energy crisis.
  • There have been 21 pole winners in the last 25 races. Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne (two each) are the only repeat pole winners there since 1995. Qualifying was canceled once.
  • The pole has been swept just three times: Bill Elliott (1985), Ken Schrader (1993), Denny Hamlin (2006).
  • Richard Petty won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono.
  • Bill Elliott leads all drivers with with five victories; 18 drivers have won more than once there.
  • There have been 14 different race winners in the 17 races since Bobby Labonte swept in 1999. Jimmie Johnson swept 2004 and Denny Hamlin 2006. Kurt Busch won the July race in 2005 and 2007.
  • There have been six season sweeps at Pocono, including two of the past four seasons.
  • Bobby Allison and Tim Richmond each won three consecutive races at Pocono.
  • 45 of 61 Pocono races have been won from a top-10 start; 13 by the pole winner.
  • The June 2005 race was won by Carl Edwards from the 29th starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.
  • Rick Hendrick leads all other car owners with 11 Pocono victories.
  • There have been eight car owner season sweeps, including three of the past four seasons (two of the car owner sweeps were with different drivers).
  • There have been two green-white-checkered finishes: June 2005 (201 laps) and July 2005 (203 laps).
  • Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Brian Vickers and J.J. Yeley are the active drivers that have finished on the lead lap in all of their races.
  • Denny Hamlin won his first two appearances at Pocono Raceway, claiming both victories from the pole. Hamlin has two third-place finishes and a sixth-place finish in his other races for an average finish of 2.8 in five races – the all-time best of any driver at the Pennsylvania track. He also led 300 of the 906 laps raced in the five races.

Track Records

  • Track qualifying record: Kasey Kahne (172.533 mph, 52.164 secs., 6-11-04)
  • Track race record: Rusty Wallace (144.892 mph, 7-21-96)

Qualifying/Race Data

  • 2007 pole winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (169.975 mph, 52.949 seconds)
  • 2007 race winner: Kurt Busch, 131.627 mph, 8-5-07)

Pocono Race Day Data

  • Estimated Pit Window: Every 28-30 laps, based on fuel mileage.
  • Race #21 of 36 (8-3-08)
  • Track Size: 2.5 miles
  • Race Length: 500 miles (200 laps)
  • Banking/Turn 1: 14 degrees
  • Banking/Turn 2: 8 degrees
  • Banking/Turn 3: 6 degrees
  • Frontstretch: 3,740 feet
  • Backstretch: 3,055 feet
  • Shortstretch: 1,780