The Tricky Triangle

Disclaimer…I am apologizing to all of these out there who have math phobias for my usage of math lingo in this post.  Sometimes my geekiness just can’t help itself.  I hope I have done my math teachers proud by the use of this math terminology!

A usual NASCAR race occurs on an oval track which gives us four turns of action.  But there are on a few occasions where NASCAR takes their show to the not so oval tracks.  This weekend the Cup drivers will tackle Pocono Raceway aka The Tricky Triangle in Long Pond Pennsylvania for the Party in the Poconos 400 sponsored by Walmart.

To be honest, I don’t know a whole lot about this track.  The only thing I know it is in the shape of a triangle, albeit a rounded triangle.  I still shudder and get chills every time I think about triangles.  I think this all goes back to one of junior high math classes where I had to memorize the Pythagorean Theorem (note…I still can recite it word for word…the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides).  Hopefully the drivers and crew chiefs won’t have to use that kind of math to get around the 2.5 mile triangle this weekend.

I can see how the track is called the Tricky Triangle.  None of the sides are the same length or in math lingo a scalene triangle.  So no chance of using that pesky Pythagorean Theorem I mentioned earlier because you need a right angle in the triangle to use this theorem.  Can you imagine if one of the turns was a right angle?  Any way, here are the specs for the triangle the drivers will have to contend with this weekend.

  • Frontstretch = 3,740 feet
  • Long Pond Straight = 3,055 feet
  • Short Chute = 1,780 feet
  • Turn 1 = 14 degrees of banking
  • Turn 2 = 8 degrees of banking
  • Turn 3 – 6 degrees of banking

There is much in the way of banking like there is say at Daytona or Talladega.  This is a flat race track which requires the drives to contend with very different corners and straightaways.  Currently, there is one driver who seems to have mastered the domain of Pocono Speedway.  Jeff Gordon has the most wins with 6.  His last win coming last year at the Pennsylvania 500.  He has also lead the most career laps at Pocono with 965.  So if you have a fantasy league, I would definitely put Jeff Gordon on the team this week.  Another driver who has some success at Pocono is Denny Hamlin with three wins.  He swept both races back in 2006.  If Denny is looking to bounce back from last week’s race, this would be the one race to do it.

I will be watching Tony Stewart this week.  After his win last week at Dover, and his top-10 finish at Charlotte, he is riding some momentum into Pocono this weekend.  Tony’s win at Pocono was in 2009 at the first race in Pocono.  I have been following Tony’s career for several years and this is the time of the year he gets things started.  I am hoping he take this momentum to Victory Lane and get his second win of the season!

If you are headed out to Pocono this weekend have a great time!  If you are thinking about taking in the race, but don’t want to spend too much of that budget, you can still purchase concourse level tickets for just $25!  That’s right…$25!  These tickets normally would sell for $55, $50, $45.  That’s quite a deal when you think about it!  It basically means you can get two tickets for the price of one.  If I had that kind of savings, it would mean I could buy another Tony Stewart souvenir for my already overflowing souvenir collection!  You can buy these great tickets online at http://www.walmart.com/cp/1091705 or Pocono Raceway

When I started researching things about Pocono Raceway I wasn’t sure what I was going to find.  I wasn’t familiar with the track and to be honest it usually isn’t one of the races I have circled on my calendar to watch.  It’s not because there isn’t exciting racing, it’s usually the fact that I am on vacation during this time and don’t get a chance to watch the race. You need to check out the Pocono Green Initiatives!  The one program I like is the NASCAR Clean Air Tree Planting Program.  Ten trees are planted for every green flag of NASCAR race at Pocono.  Ten trees per race that’s twenty trees a year!  Pocono is definitely leading the way in conservation in NASCAR!

Some final thoughts…

  • I was so EXCITED about Tony’s win last weekend!  I didn’t catch much of the race.  It was just difficult to watch when you are feeling like death warmed over.  I did, however catch the last several laps!  I hope my neighbors can forgive me for the yelling and screaming I did.  If not, WHO CARES!!!
  • With this win, Tony would be in the Chase as one of the wild cards.  He is currently 16th (up four spots) and has one win.  The only other driver with one win not in the top 12 is David Ragan.  He is sitting in 27th place.  So if the regular season ended today, the wild cards would be Jeff Gordon (sitting at 11th spot) and Tony Stewart!  But the regular season doesn’t end after Dover so there is still a lot of racing left.
  • I believe NASCAR made the right call with Jimmie Johnson.  From the video I saw, it seemed Jimmie was ahead of Juan in the restart zone, he continued to be ahead of him and the field after the green flag flew.  I just thought it was one of those good restarts Jimmie usually gets, but in the case not so much.  Whether or not Juan held back or not, that is not for me to say.  Sometimes restarts are about gamesmanship.  Perhaps this was one of those where Jimmie got outplayed.  Either way it cost him the race win.
  • I am somewhat superstitious when it comes to sports.  I have been known to sit in the exact same spot, where the same clothes and I have even go so far as to have the same type of food and beverage to help give my driver good mojo.  I know this may seem a little odd for those who don’t follow sports, but hey, you don’t mess with the mojo!  So with that being said, I am going to post a gratuitous picture of Tony to give him so good mojo for this weekend!  The same one I posted last weekend!

2011 championship

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