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Pocono Shortens Track for This Year’s Race — NASCAR Preview

Big week in racing. A shorter race, a legend passes and a Busch is suspended. Here’s Blake Smith’s review of Sunday’s action.

WBKR NASCAR Preview: Pocono 400

Since the inaugural race in 1974, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been visiting the Pocono Mountains. Nestled in the “honeymoon capitol of the world” is the tricky triangle of Pocono Raceway. The NASCAR Cup Series will be making their 14th stop of the 2012 season this Sunday for the Pocono 400, 10 miles shorter than last year.

Bill Elliott and Jeff Gordon lead the way for most wins at the 2.5 mile tri-oval with 5 wins each. All of these wins came on a previous racing surface. Since the series last visited in August of 2011, the Pocono Raceway has been repaved. This will bring a much faster race. Drivers and teams reported to the Speedway on Wednesday for the first of three test sessions. Kasey Kahne had the overall fastest time in Thursday’s afternoon session with a speed of 179.490. This speed is 2 to 6 mph quicker than the previous track record, also held by Kasey Kahne.

Drivers and teams have had those 3 test sessions to prepare a good setup for the racing weekend. The races at Pocono, however, can be difficult to prepare a car for. It is nearly impossible to set up a car that is perfect in all 3 turns. These turns are all completely different with individual characteristics. The team that prepares a car to be competitive in all 3 corners and has the correct pit strategy and fuel mileage will be a contender for the win on Sunday.

One driver who will not be participating in this weekend’s events will be Kurt Busch. Busch was suspended verbally abusing a member of media following Saturday’s Nationwide Series race in Dover. David Reutimann will be behind the wheel of the #51 Phoenix Chevrolet this weekend.

And, former NASCAR driver Cotton Owens died Thursday. Owens, just elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 13, was 88. 

Coverage of Sunday’s Pocono 400 begins at 11AM on WBKR and!

— Blake Smith

Blake Smith with buddy Hank Williams, Jr.

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