The Pocono Debate: Is 1,000 Miles at the NASCAR Track Too Much?

LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 03:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Old Spice Swagger Chevrolet, races to a 10th place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2009 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Clint BryantCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2010

Every June, NASCAR heads to the mountains of Pennsylvania for 500 miles at the tricky triangle that is Pocono Raceway, not once, but twice.... in seven weeks.

Opinions vary on the two and a half mile "Roval," as some call it.  The loudest voices say that the race lacks excitement due to the track's nature of making cars get spread out and single file. Others counter that the three unique turns make it one of NASCAR's most unique and challenging tracks.  Then there are some that say the race is just too long.  Last year's June race took over three and a half hours to complete.

If you combine all this with the fact that the track has two 500 mile races separated by only seven weeks, you can understand why some complain. 

What is the solution?  It is easy and has been suggested many times. 

Shorten both Pocono races to 400 miles.

The shorter race would make the drivers race harder earlier in the event which would lead to an overall better race.  Those who love the uniqueness of the track would still have it, the ones who think it is boring would have more action, and those who do not have three and a half hours to watch the race could watch it.

If the owners love the race title "Pocono 500," even better! Make the event the "Pocono 500K."  You could still call it the Pocono 500 just as Phoenix had the "Subway Fresh Fit 600" this spring.  Did they run 600 miles at Phoenix... NO!  It was 600 kilometers.  Five hundred kilometers at Pocono equates to around 311 miles.  If you do the math that is 124 laps and roughly two and a half hours.

In a world of one and a half mile "cookie cutter" tracks, Pocono is a breath of fresh air.  The three unique corners modeled after the Milwaukee Mile, Trenton, and Indianapolis make it a great addition to the schedule.  However 1000 miles at Pocono in one season is too much, and if the owners of the track want to keep both dates, shortening the races is something that needs to happen soon.



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