Mike Mulhern previews the Pocono 400 with new pavement.
My Take: - Hitting 215 MPH as the Cup cars are now doing on the straights is never a good idea for racing. Grip levels are by all accounts good, and the Goodyear tires appear to be holding up. The ARCA cars will race on Saturday and they run Hoosiers, which have reacted differently with Goodyear rubber now laid down. Some drivers like Dale Junior and Greg Biffle are predicting five-abreast passes given the need to basically dive-bomb other cars with passing almost impossible in the sport in general and with this new pavement in particular; given that the 1996 Pocono 500 saw a large number of laps where the lead changed up to three times in one lap, there's some hope for a repeat of such in this 400-miler.
It's also Pocono's first 400 mile race after forty years running 500 milers. 400 is not enough; 500 remains a better race, a better test of racecar and racer and allows more passing. We hope Pocono reverts to 500 milers soon.