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Is it time to start giving Pocono Raceway a break?

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NASCAR punch line, thy name is Pocono.

First on the list of Tracks Fans Would Most Like To Bulldoze And Then Salt The Earth So Nothing Ever Grows There Again, Pocono takes all kinds of heat for all kinds of reasons. It's flat. It's long. It's dull. It's got those three weird turns that you can't set up for correctly, so everybody's playing a best-guess rather than a targeted engineering game.

Look, I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not the biggest fan of Pocono, or even the 50th. I've gotten all kinds of emails from people who say they live in Pennsylvania and won't go to the race. It's not the track you show people when you want to turn them on to the sport.

That said — and this is not NASCAR propaganda, just starting a little conversation — is it time to cool it on Pocono? I mean, everybody from Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt to Denny Hamlin to Jeremy Mayfield has won there. The triple-curve setup puts the burden on crew chiefs and techs to choose wisely. And really, even a bad race is better than, oh, a good tennis match, right?

The races there need to be shortened, of course. Lop a hundred miles off and you're talking. And in an ideal world, the banking would be increased, too, but that's not going to happen. So we make do with what we've got.

I'm not saying we immediately embrace Pocono, just that we think about whether it's really the paved joke that so many of us make it out to be. What's your take?

Of course, if we did agree to cut Pocono some slack, we'd have to find a new track to pick on.

Auto Club Speedway of California, you're on deck.

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