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(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

Fire on Fridays: Pocono Needs to Use Its Road Course

The Tricky Triangle just isn’t tricky enough anymore.

I’ve been going to Pocono Raceway for the last 15 years, and these days, the racing is way too hit or miss.

Some events at the track are stellar, like the first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in 2010, which featuring plenty of passing, wrecks and just good racing.

But other races, such as last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series snoozer, happen too often at Pocono.

Next year, there’s a double-header at the track and people are already dreading it. If it’s not the rain that causes angry fans at Pocono, chances are they leave the mountains angry because they saw a lackluster race.

So what if NASCAR and Pocono come together to make it fun?

Remember what NASCAR did at Charlotte Motor Speedway in creating the ROVAL? Well, guess what? Pocono already had a road course — and it’s massive, too.

The road course can either run the first half of the track like normal before going through a series of twists and turns to skip the usual turn 3, or it can be designed to do the opposite by making radical changes to the first half of the track while enabling drivers to still roar through the frontstretch at upward of 200 mph.

Instead of two races on the triangle, why not have one on the triangle and the other on the track’s road course? Pocono Raceway CEO Nick Igdalsky previously told the Pocono Record that they’re willing to try it, so let’s do it already.

How great would it be to have another ROVAL-like track on the schedule? To force drivers to maneuver between both the road course and the oval all on one weekend would be extremely fun to watch.

The ROVAL at Charlotte is considered to be a success, partially because of increased TV ratings and the amazing highlights that came from it. It would be a great selling point for NASCAR, which often attempts to woo New York City and Philadelphia businesses at Pocono.

Otherwise? Pocono, as it stands now, shouldn’t have two races. But NASCAR can really do something special by making a combination of the two next year. It would make Pocono stand out more than it already does.

The executives at Pocono are as creative and willing to make changes as anyone. Just look at what they’ve done in the past, with a fan fest, being the first track to showcase shorter race weekends, a unique eco-friendly initiative and much more.

Clearly, Igdalsky and the rest of the track’s management staff are willing to do what it takes to keep Pocono on the NASCAR schedule.  Let’s hope NASCAR is willing to continue in the direction of trying new things.

In the end, it’s all about the fun of racing, and a road course at Pocono would be just that.

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About Joseph Wolkin

Joseph Wolkin
Joseph started with Fronstretch in Aug. 2014 and worked his way up to become an editor in less than a year. A native of Whitestone, New York, Joseph writes for NASCAR Pole Position magazine as a weekly contributor, along with being a former intern at Newsday and the Times Beacon Record Newspapers, each on Long Island. With a focus on NASCAR, he runs our social media pages and writes the NASCAR Mailbox column, along with other features for the site.

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3 comments

  1. Avatar

    How about ditching one of the events at Pocono…and come to Austin Texas and run at s real road course….Circuit of The America’s! That would mean F1, INDY & NASCAR would be running in Austin.

  2. Avatar

    Road racing is the LEAST COMPETITIVE racing in motorsports. The Charlotte roval was a total joke and I surly even though it was better than most road races. And the ratings increase was transitory and oversold.

    Pocono is THIRD IN ALL TIME lead changes per race. It is one of racing’s strongest markets There is no reason to take away or change its dates.

    • Avatar

      The tracks don’t matter until NA$CAR goes back to using real “race” cars. All this musing is pointless.