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Why Is NASCAR’s Pocono Raceway Called “The Tricky Triangle”?

Gowtham Ramalingam

Why Is NASCAR’s Pocono Raceway Called “The Tricky Triangle”?

The 21st Cup Series race of the 2024 season will go down at the Pocono Raceway this weekend. Nestled amid mountains in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, the 2.5-mile track is famed not only for producing exhilarating racing but also for the historical moments since its introduction back in 1974. The uniqueness that it displays proudly has led to it being called “The Tricky Triangle”.

The track was designed and built by two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rodger Ward. The conception in Ward’s mind was to create a race track with three corners instead of the usual four – each resembling a corner from other famed venues. And so, Ward took pages out of the legendary Trenton Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Milwaukee Mile to put his track together.

Walking into the venue today one can see a wall with the words, “What Turn 4?” At 3,740 feet, the track’s front straightaway is the longest of any active NASCAR track. The success of the track’s design was obvious from its very first race in 1974. Richard “King” Petty emerged victorious, beating Buddy Baker by over 18.8 seconds. Since then, the sport’s best have hoisted their names there.

Diving deeper into the track’s configuration shows Turn 1 banked at 14 degrees – just as the corner at the Trenton Speedway. Turn 2 is banked 8 degrees as in Indianapolis. And Turn 3 is banked 6 degrees as it is in Milwaukee. Together, it comes off as a daunting challenge for drivers. Two drivers in the course of history haven’t had much trouble taming it, however.

The most successful drivers at Pocono

While many drivers struggle to find the victory lane at this unique offering, Jeff Gordon (6 wins) and Denny Hamlin (7 wins) have not. Quite notably, Pocono is where Hamlin secured his first Cup Series victory. In an interview with NASCAR, he spoke about the track, I think it’s a race track where a certain driving style rewards it. I’ve always been a guy that’s been easy on the entry and hard on the exit.”

“And with the long straightaways there, I think that really made my car fast doing that.” The track has also served as the maiden victory venue of RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher and defending Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney. With its long and storied history, the Pocono Raceway is like no other race track today.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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