When Indianapolis 500 legend Rodger Ward designed Pocono Raceway, he patterned Turn One after the old Trenton Speedway in New Jersey, Turn Two after Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Turn Three after the Milwaukee Mile
On the surface it would seem like Paul Menard, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion would have an advantage at Pocono since he’s won two major NASCAR races on tracks the late Ward used in his planning for Pocono. Menard won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in 2011 and an Xfinity Series race at the Milwaukee Mile in 2015.
But he said that Pocono’s turns, while similar to the legendary tracks they were based on, are themselves unique.
“It’s a cool concept,” Menard said of Ward’s use of legendary ovals in designing the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle at Pocono. “But you don’t look at notes from Indy and Milwaukee.
“Turn Two at Pocono and Turn One at Indianapolis are visually similar, but the speeds, grip level, the banking and the curbing are quite different. And Turn Three at Pocono has less radius than Milwaukee.”
But one aspect of Pocono that does play to one of Menard’s strengths is the fact that races at Pocono share a lot of characteristics with road course races. He won an Xfinity Series race at Road America in 2015.
“You’re shifting every lap,” he said. “And a lot of times races there turn into fuel-mileage contests.
“Pocono is a fun place to drive, it’s a fun race and I really like the area around the track.”
Menard figures Pocono will be more fun than usual this year because for the first time in quite a while, he’ll get to race there with Ford power under the hood.
“I’m looking forward to feeling that Roush-Yates horsepower,” he said. “Our engines have been strong all year, but horsepower really shows up at Pocono.”
Qualifying for the Pocono 400 is set for Friday at 4:15 p.m., and the race is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on Fox Sports 1.
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Ford’s Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center offers routine vehicle maintenance such as oil and filter changes, light repair services including brake repair, and tire replacements on all vehicle makes and models. With more than 800 locations and growing, customers can visit www.quicklane.com to find a center that is closest to them, print savings coupons and review maintenance tips to keep their vehicles running at peak efficiency. This site includes information on how to spot tire wear, how to jump-start a battery and even a series of tips to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy.
Wood Brothers Racing
Wood Brothers Racing was formed in 1950 in Stuart, Va., by Hall of Famer Glen Wood. Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team and one of the winningest teams in NASCAR history. Since its founding, the team won 99 races (including at least one race in every decade for the last seven decades) and 119 poles in NASCAR’s top-tier series. Fielding only Ford products for its entire history, the Wood Brothers own the longest association of any motorsports team with a single manufacturer. Glen’s brother, Leonard, is known for inventing the modern pit stop. The team currently runs the Ford Fusion driven by Paul Menard in the famous No. 21 racer.