Complete Preview and Prediction for 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400

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Complete Preview and Prediction for 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400
Mel Evans/Associated Press

Pocono Raceway is the site of round 14 of 36 of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Located in the Pocono Mountains of East Central Pennsylvania, the 2.5-mile race track is a driver favorite because of its unique layout.

The track also presents a challenge to crew chiefs to find a setup that gives their drivers a comfort zone in an array of turns: a sharp, high-banked corner (Turn 1), an ultra-fast dogleg (Turn 2) and an even sharper, almost flat final turn that drivers must exit from in nearly perfect form to set themselves up for the longest straightaway in NASCAR.

The layout of the track, nicknamed “The Tricky Triangle,” is so different that drivers compare it to a cross between a road course and an oval because of the unique challenges each corner presents.

"It's a third more work per lap is what it amounts to,” said Ryan Newman, who won here from the pole in 2003. “I wouldn't say it's anything crazy or anything we can't handle. It's possible to set your car up for all three turns. It's doable to make the car perfect. It's not easy, but all it takes is good communication between you, the crew chief and the engineers.

“It’s kind of like a big road course really, you just turn left,” said his Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard.

“Each corner has its challenges, and each one tends to present a different set of circumstances with each lap you make,” said Tony Stewart, who won here in 2003 and 2009.

Jimmie Johnson is the defending race winner, his third at Pocono. Jeff Gordon holds the record among active drivers with six wins. Denny Hamlin has four.

Pocono always draws a tremendous crowd, drawing fans from New York City. A crowd of nearly 90,000 is expected on Sunday, and the weather forecast looks perfect for all three days.

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