<pre> Event: Pocono 500 When: Sun., June 18 at 1 p.m. EDT on TNN Where: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile tri-oval) Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott, Robin Pemberton, Tommy Baldwin, Jimmy Elledge, Ryan ...
<pre> Event: Pocono 500 When: Sun., June 18 at 1 p.m. EDT on TNN Where: Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott, Robin Pemberton, Tommy Baldwin, Jimmy Elledge, Ryan Pemberton and Greg Zipadelli have led their drivers to 84 wins, 468 top-five finishes, 765 top-10 finishes and 89 poles prior to this Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Makar and Bobby Labonte are the defending champions of the Pocono 500. Labonte finished the 1999 race in 4 hours, 12 minutes and 19 seconds at an average speed of 118.898 mph. His margin of victory was .340 seconds over Jeff Gordon. The Crew Chief Club has two wins in the spring race at Pocono. In addition to Makar and Labonte's win last year, Ro. Pemberton led Kyle Petty to victory lane in 1993. In last year's Pocono 500, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order:
Makar/B. Labonte Start: 3rd Finish: 1st Status: Running Parrott/Jarrett Start: 2nd Finish: 3rd Status: Running Zipadelli/Stewart Start: 12th Finish: 16th Status: Running Ry. Pemberton/Irvan Start: 34th Finish: 8th Status: Running McReynolds/Skinner Start: 24th Finish: 22nd Status: Running Elledge/K. Wallace Start: 21st Finish: 25th Status: Running Baldwin/W. Burton Start: 7th Finish: 29th Status: Accident Ro. Pemberton/R. Wallace Start: 14th Finish: 43rd Status: Accident </pre> HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOUR RACE CAR FOR 500 MILES AT POCONO?
Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "There are three different corners with three different bankings along with three different straightaways. You've got to give up something in one part of the race track to go fast in another part of the race track. The key at Pocono is getting off the corners good and strong, and getting down the straightaway. The straightaways are so long that if you don't get off the corners good and hard, you just won't have the speed to carry you down the straightaway. That can really mess your lap up. We use an overdrive transmission to help us get off the corners. Before we used overdrive, we tended to overturn the engine at the end of the straightaways, because it is a mile long and we were primarily geared to run fast on the shorter straightaways. With the overdrive transmission , we'll shift into overdrive halfway down the front straightaway. That lets us run wide open all the way down into turn one without over-revving the engine. We'll shift back down into the lower gear coming off one, and we'll run the rest of the race track in lower gear, turning the RPMs we need to get off the slower corners. We'll change the rear end gearing accordingly. Some guys are even shifting twice. What we try to do is get the engine to work in its best horsepower range in each aspect of the race track - the three different corners, the three different straightaways, all at three different speeds. The only way you can do that is by using an overdrive transmission with the appropriate rear-end gearing."
Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Pocono has a lot of Indianapolis characteristics to it. It has a lot of short track characteristics, too. It's a place where you obviously need a good handling race car, but you've got to have a good transmission package, too. We do use an overdrive transmission, and you must have the gearing just right so the driver can shift, turn and brake all at the same time down into turn one. Turn one you're shifting, turning and braking. Turn two across the tunnel - there's really not a lot of passing, you just drive it across the turn. Turn three is the corner you need to work the hardest on. You have to get off turn three well because with a good run off that corner, you can make a pass down the front straightaway while going into turn one."
Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace - "Pocono is a big race track like Daytona, but it's a flat race track - similar to a short track. You've got to have the most tremendous engine in the world when you go up there, and you set the car up similar to what you would have at a short track - like Richmond. You're carrying so much speed going into turn one that you crash down in the corner. So, you need enough spring in the car to hold the car up so it physically doesn't bottom everything out when you get into turn one. When you go across the tunnel turn, the objective is to get through there almost wide open. Before you get to the corner, you back out of the gas way early, get in the gas again, then try to zoom across the middle of the corner and run wide open by the time you're in the middle of the tunnel turn. To complement that, you really need to be able to get off of turn three without a push. That's where the trouble comes. To keep the car secure enough to get into one, you have to run a lot of spring. But that can make the race car too tight coming off three. You're going to have to give up something somewhere. Fuel mileage is another factor. You can get good fuel mileage by how the driver drives the car. He can't be real aggressive on the gas, and he's got to be smooth all around that place. All the horsepower we need eats up gas."