By admin | August 2, 2008
By Richard Allen
Well, we have had a week to vent after the disaster that was the Brickyard 400. Hopefully, after all the criticism NASCAR and Goodyear will take measures to see that nothing like that ever happens again. It is now time to put Indy behind us and move on to Pocono.
Leading up to the Pocono 500 in June at this facility almost every NASCAR themed website(including this one) had a week of “take your best shots at Pocono”. However, the race was not as bad as everyone seemed to think it would be. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement but after last week(couldn’t resist one more dig) it is an improvement.
Part of the criticism toward the track before the last event came out of a practice session held earlier. Track officials had repaved the middle groove section from roughly the exit of turn 2 to the exit of turn 3. This led many drivers and others to believe the race would devolve into a one groove, follow the leader affair.
As it turned out there was some passing during the race and it was fairly competitive despite the fact that Kasey Kahne had a dominate car.
Now that I think about it, I’m not so sure that just repaving a part of the track isn’t the best way to go. Paving, or diamond grinding, the whole track seems to create one groove racing. The way Pocono has done it seems to give drivers the option of the paved upper lane or the not repaved lower groove.
This is somewhat similar to something the Martinsville Speedway did a few years ago when they used a grinding process on the bottom groove and left the upper grooves alone. It caused the drivers to come up off the bottom groove and created more room for passing and allowed for more side by side racing.
Repaving aside, the other criticisms of this track remain. At 500 miles, many argue the race is too long. Also, many fans and media types believe the speedway’s facilities are out of date.
With all of that said, no doubt many will be glad to see the cars take the green flag this Sunday in Pocono, perhaps more glad than ever before here on this track. Hopefully, at that moment we can officially put the race held last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the rear view mirror for good.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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