J.J. YELEY Pocono: Three O's, Three Straights and Three Corners CORNELIUS, N.C. (July 30, 2008) -- Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is considered an oval, but it's a strange one. It's really more of a triangle. Consider that the design brings into...
Pocono: Three O's, Three Straights and Three Corners
CORNELIUS, N.C. (July 30, 2008) -- Pocono (Pa.) Raceway is considered an oval, but it's a strange one. It's really more of a triangle.
Consider that the design brings into play three turns -- each with a different radius, three straightaways -- each a different length, and three different degrees of banking throughout the circuit.
What does that mean for J.J. Yeley, crew chief Steve Boyer and the rest of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota team heading into this weekend's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race?
Well, like every other team, they'll try to figure out how to get the car to drive well around as much of the track as possible since the chances of getting the car to drive perfectly through the entire 2.5-mile layout are nearly impossible as each section of the track is so unique.
The 2.5-mile triangular layout has three different corners that were each modeled after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at eight degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at six degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile.
So what's the best way to describe racing at Pocono? Well, since the beautiful and scenic Pocono area was and still is a hot spot for newlywed couples, perhaps racing at Pocono is best compared to married life -- full of compromise. But if you're successful, you're happy to have been a participant.
J.J. YELEY, driver of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry:
What are your thoughts heading into the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500?
"I'm really looking forward to going back to Pocono. We had a really good car there for the spring race and I just made a mistake during qualifying. We had a car that was more than capable of qualifying in the top-10 and I just carried a little bit too much speed through the tunnel turn, lost the nose and put ourselves in a position where we missed the race. That was my mistake. I had a car that was really good. I was looking to get too much out of it and get a really good starting position, versus accomplishing goal number one, which his to get in the race. That's the problem with the top-35 in points is that you have to approach each weekend with a different mindset than what you would really like to."
How critical can one mistake be at a place like Pocono?
"It's huge because it's such a big race track. The biggest thing that happens with the new cars is that, generally, the guy who can pick up the throttle the soonest through the corner and not have to lift will be the fastest. It's just building that speed and keeping that momentum. When I lost the nose in the tunnel turn during qualifying, I lost a ton of time and that cost us. The other thing is that, because the track is so big, the tires during qualifying are generally only good for one lap. So if you screw up on the first lap, you've also used up a lot of grip and it's very difficult to get back and make up time on the second lap."
STEVE BOYER, crew chief of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry:
As a crew chief, how hard is it to set-up a car for Pocono?
"Pocono is a very unique and different race track. Turn one has so much banking that in some ways you don't have to worry about it as much. The tunnel turn (turn two) is very tricky. And turn three, being so flat, presents a lot of unique challenges compared to the other two. So, you always have to make a trade-off and pick a couple of turns you're really going to focus on and a couple that you're going to sacrifice a little bit. Hopefully, we've learned what to do and what not to do."