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Last Updated Monday, Jun 14, 2010 1:17 am, EDT

Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500

Status: Final Pocono Raceway

Race Capsule

Pocono Raceway
  • What:

    Race 14 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA

  • When:

    June 6, 2010 1:18 pm EDT

  • Laps:

    200

  • Track Length:

    2.5 miles

  • Race Length:

    500.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $4,945,083

Drivers to Watch

Kyle Busch Busch has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in 10 Pocono starts but hasn't won there. He has finished out of the top 10 in his last five Pocono starts and was 22nd last June and 16th in August.
Clint Bowyer Bowyer finished third in the August race at Pocono for his fourth top-10 finish in the last eight races at the track. "We definitely have some good tracks coming up for us," said Bowyer. "We had a good run the last time around at Pocono. We're confident that we can have strong runs at both Pocono races (in 2010). We've seen some teams struggle there in the past, and we need to capitalize on those opportunities."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt has one pole and five top-fives, including two runner-up finishes, and six top-10s in 20 starts at Pocono. He will be driving the same car that he won the pole with earlier this year at Atlanta. "Pocono is one of the more difficult tracks that we go to because all three of the corners are so different," said Earnhardt.
Kurt Busch Busch, 172 points out of the lead, improved three spots in the standings with his victory at Charlotte, and Pocono has been a good track for him, too. One of the hottest drivers in NASCAR has two wins, seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 18 Pocono starts. He was 37th last June and ninth in August. From his victory in July 2005 until June 2008, Busch had two victories, two second-place finishes, an eighth and a 16th at Pocono. "You can pit and not lose a lap, and that's rare on a race track," Busch said of the Pennsylvania track. "That's where you'll see some of the guys and the (pit) window that they're trying to stretch. With this green-white-checkered situation now, fuel (mileage) is more of an issue because you never know when the race is going to end; there are so many extra laps. You just have to play the strategy right and just feel comfortable and confident in the decision that you make."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin, 166 points from the points lead, is looking forward to a weekend at his best track -- the Virginia native has three wins at Pocono, including a sweep of both races in 2006, his rookie season. He has five top-five and six top-10 finishes in eight career starts there. He was 38th last June -- his worst finish at the track -- but battled back to win the August race. "It's a good track for us and we feel like we're always looking past Charlotte once we're at this race track because we want to get to Pocono," Hamlin said. "This year is much different for us. I haven't even looked toward Pocono."
Tony Stewart Stewart is the defending race winner of the June race at Pocono. It was his second victory at the track where he has 16 top-10 finishes in 22 starts. "Getting the first one (win as a car owner) at Charlotte (in the All-Star Race) was a huge accomplishment for the organization, but that first official points win was big, too," said Stewart.
Juan Pablo Montoya Montoya finished eighth and second in the two Pocono races last year. They were his first top-10 finishes in six starts there. "Last time we were there, we ran really well," said Montoya. "It is a race track that normally hasn't been that good for me, but I changed a lot of my driving style last year and that helped me a lot."
Kasey Kahne Kahne has one win and five top-10 finishes in 12 starts at Pocono, but three of the top-10s, including the victory, have come in the last four races. "I've always liked the uniqueness of the three different corners and the challenge that it presents to the teams to set up your car to be fast at each of the different ends," said Kahne.
Ryan Newman Newman has one win and seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts at Pocono. "Pocono is really all its own when it comes to race tracks," said Newman. "I've heard some people call it a 'roval' in the past because it's a cross between a road course and an oval. There's just nothing like Pocono. It can be a long, grueling race, but it can be a lot of fun when your car is right, too."
Jeff Gordon Gordon climbed two positions in the standings and is 138 points out of the lead. The four-time Cup champion has four wins, 16 top-five finishes and 24 top-10s in 34 Pocono starts. He was fourth last June and eighth in August, giving him four top-five finishes in his last seven Pocono starts. "All the turns are very unique and challenging in their own way, and I think that's what makes Pocono so special," Gordon said. "I've always said that the tunnel turn is one of my favorites but also one of my least favorites because when you hit it right, it's just so incredible and such a great feeling, and it's such a thrill to go through there. But when you don't hit it right, it's the most physical corner there is on the track because you lose so much momentum and time and you're hitting the steering wheel because you messed it up. And it's such a short corner, but it's really fast. I like that corner. But the most challenging one is probably the third turn, where it's just really flat and really fast and it's really difficult to get it right. It's a fun track that really challenges the teams and engineers, and there are a lot of different theories right now on what makes you go fast at a place like Pocono that might apply to Indianapolis. Everybody sort of uses it as a test session for Indianapolis because Indy is such an important race and so prestigious. You can't apply those long straightaways in that flat last corner to Indy. It seems like if you get yourself right there, it gives you a good opportunity to possibly find something for Indy. But it's always fun and challenging and I look forward to getting back there."
Brad Keselowski Keselowski will be making his Sprint Cup debut at Pocono. But he is quick to point out "Pocono is a place that I've been to many times with my family. My dad (Bob) always ran well there in the family ARCA car, and those are my earliest recollections of the track."
Joey Logano Logano's best finish in two starts at Pocono is 23rd. He will be driving the car that he drove to a 10th-place finish at Dover three weeks ago. "We made a lot of gains in the August race (at Pocono)," said Logano. "We were running in the top 10 with 35 (laps) to go when I felt a left-rear tire go down. We should have easily finished in the top 15."
Mark Martin Martin gained one spot in the standings and is back in the top 10, 263 behind the leader. Talk about losing streaks: Martin has not won a race at Pocono in a whopping 46 attempts. He has 19 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes and was 19th last June and seventh in August. He has five top-10 finishes in his last six Pocono starts. Yet, despite his winless Pocono record, he loves the challenge of the track. "Pocono is one of my top five favorite racetracks," Martin said. "It's great to race on. And of course it's really, really different than any other track we go to. Pocono has its three distinctly different corners, a good amount of banking and long straightaways. In order to do well there, you have to have big horsepower under the hood. Your car has to handle well through all three turns, if you can get it that good. It's a big challenge. Sometimes you have to sacrifice one corner in order to get the other two better. It's a tough place to conquer. I've had the fastest car there about five times. I just couldn't get to the start-finish line first. Track position plays a huge role, of course. Then you add in fuel mileage, pit stops, the timing of cautions. So many elements have to go right to win a race. I just haven't been able to put the whole package together there. It's about putting your best foot forward and making your best effort. There's no doubt that this team will do that this weekend."
AJ Allmendinger Allmendinger is another driver looking for his first top-10 finish at Pocono. His best finish in five starts at the track is 12th. "Pocono is a track you either really look forward to getting to or one that makes you lose a bunch of sleep the week before," said Allmendinger. "The track can be really tough to figure out."
Jamie McMurray McMurray, who has three top-10 finishes in 14 starts at Pocono, believes this is going to be a key weekend in his bid to make the Chase. "Pocono is not a very good track for me," he said. "The key will be about getting a solid finish out of it. If that means 10th or 15th, you need to finish there, not screw up, run 30th." McMurray is only 26 points out of 12th.
Kevin Harvick Harvick takes a 29-point lead into Pocono for Sunday's 500-mile race. He has never won at Pocono and has two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 18 starts. He was 24th in this race last year and 12th in August and has just one top-10 finish in his last six Pocono starts (fourth in August 2008). "For me, the trickiest part of Pocono is the tunnel turn," Harvick said. "You have to carry so much speed into that turn that there is not much room for error. The tunnel turn is so much harder to get through now than it used to be. A couple of years ago there was a flat curb there and you could lean on it a little bit if you needed to. Now there is a big curb there, and if you hit it you'll probably be forced up the race track, and the chances of hitting the wall are pretty high. Pocono has a lot of its own characteristics, to say the least. It's a 2.5-mile triangle-shaped race track that has three pretty tricky turns. Turn one is really bumpy, the tunnel turn has a pretty big curb and it is pretty easy to make a mistake there, and turn three is one of the flattest turns we deal with on the NASCAR circuit. It definitely has its own unique challenges."
Jimmie Johnson Continuing his tumble down the standings, Johnson lost three more positions and is 204 points out of first place. Johnson has two wins, five top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 Pocono starts, including three top-fives and four top-10s in the last five races there. He was seventh last June and 13th in August. "We just need to go out and focus on top-10s and top-fives," Johnson said. "I think I was pushing it a little too hard in the 600 to try to stay on the lead lap -- first racing hard and damaging the car and then trying to stay on the lead lap. So we just need to get back to collecting points and come in with a clear mind and a good attitude for the Pocono race and log 500 miles and get a good finish out of it."
Carl Edwards Edwards has two wins and five top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Pocono. He finished second in the spring race a year ago after leading 103 of the 200 laps. "Pocono is a blast to drive," said Edwards. "I've loved it from the first time I went there. It's a real rewarding track to win at because it's one of the toughest."
Martin Truex Jr. Truex, who has two top-10 finishes in eight starts at Pocono, said that while a 500-mile race at Pocono takes almost as long to run as a 600-miler at Charlotte, he thinks Pocono is easier on the teams because "it starts and ends in the afternoon. Teams deal with the same conditions all day long, so it's really not like Charlotte at all (which starts in the daytime and ends at night)."
Greg Biffle Biffle is 250 points out of first and has fallen two more positions in the standings. Biffle has no wins, one top-five and two top-10 finishes in 14 starts. He was 11th last June and 15th in August. He has not finished in the top 10 in his last seven Pocono starts. "I think the hardest is the tunnel turn," Biffle said. "It is tricky to not be loose in, and you really have to commit to that corner on exit. There is a lot of speed to be had there. If you don't slow down too much and re-accelerate coming out, you are good, but the tunnel corner is the trickiest. That is the thing -- it is like being at three different race tracks at the same time. You go through turn one and two very bumpy and hard breaking into it. Then you get to the tunnel turn and it is a real quick turn where the wall comes up really fast. In three and four it is long, sweeping and fairly smooth. To get your car to be able to drive all three of those technical elements at the same time is really hard."
David Reutimann Reutimann finished third in the spring race at Pocono a year ago for his first and only top-10 finish in six starts at the track. In the last five races, Reutimann has put together five consecutive top-15 finishes, including the first back-to-back top-fives in his career, to jump from 30th to 19th in the standings, only 125 points out of the top 12. "I truly believe that we have what it takes to get into that top 12," said Reutimann.
Paul Menard Menard is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Pocono. His best in six starts is 25th. "I'm excited about this weekend," said Menard. "We had a good run last weekend in Charlotte. ... We had some misfortune for a couple weeks in a row, and it was nice to get back on track and run the way we know we are capable of performing."
David Ragan Ragan has one top-10 finish -- a fifth -- in six starts at Pocono. In the other five races, Ragan has finished 22nd or worse. "Pocono is a tough track and is unlike anywhere else on the circuit," said Ragan. "It's got very different corners that make setting up your car difficult."