Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CONFIRMED: Pocono Trims Races To 400 Miles

Less than 24 hours after saying the idea of reducing Pocono Raceway's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 500 miles to 400 was "being considered," track President Brandon Igdalski did exactly that.

Igdalski told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday, "We’re looking at things, but we haven’t made that decision quite yet.” Today, the venerable Pennsylvania tri-oval announced that beginning with the June 10, 2012 event, all Sprint Cup races at Pocono will be shortened to 400 miles.

"The 400 mile distance will make NASCAR racing at Pocono even more exciting,” said Igdalsky. “Race strategies will change, fuel mileage calculations will be altered and I firmly believe that our fans will be treated to outstanding racing at the 400 mile distance.”

NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell commented on the move, saying, "NASCAR supports Pocono Raceway’s move to two 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2012. We believe this will be a good transition for the fans and competitors. It will provide the teams with a new type of strategy and should make for even more exciting competition at a unique facility that has a long-standing history in our sport.”

The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will continue to run companion events at Pocono in both June and August, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returning for its third Pocono appearance during the August race weekend.


  1. Scott M3:19 PM

    Long over due in my opinion. I believe that the Pocono races are amongst the least compelling to watch on television. If it is better in person, well God bless, but based on attendance, I am guessing not.

    I am completely in favor of NASCAR visiting as many tracks as possible, but if I were making the schedule for NASCAR, Pocono would loose a race.

  2. Brando2:16 PM

    Or at least spread them out more. Personally, I'm never excited to watch the 2nd Pocono race-- it's only been six weeks since the last visit!

  3. Scott M is flat wrong. 400 miles is a ripoff regardless of track, but on a 2.5-miler it is especially a ripoff. 500 miles is a superior test of racecar and racer and the arguments for shorter races have zero basis in real-world racing.

    Pocono as least compelling to watch on TV? What are you watching, Scott? The three-abreast pass up the middle by Denny Hamlin last time out? Pocono's races are not as competitive as they need to be, but they are still usually better than most of the other tracks.

    Pocono is third in all-time per-race average number of lead changes and sells out both of its dates; it is in one of the sport's strongest demographics. By no objective logic can taking away a date from there ever be an option.

    "I am completely in favor of NASCAR visiting as many tracks as possible." Why? Some tracks realistically do not deserve Cup dates (Watkins Glen showed anew the road courses deserve to be yanked off the tour while the three remaining short tracks are making it harder to justify staying) and tracks that have lost dates for some reason get loud advocacy for returning (Rockingham, North Wilkesboro) despite their total lack of worth as major-league racing venues.

    Pocono belongs with two dates plus an Indycar 500 miler and a stand-alone date for Trucks and Busch/Nationwide, plus the Whelen Modifieds. But its 400 milers need to be lengthened back to 500 miles.