This weekend, the Verizon IndyCar Series will run its eighth round of the 2014 season at the Texas Motor Speedwaay. On the stock car side of things, NASCAR will be racing at the tricky triangle, otherwise known as the Pocono Raceway. Unlike last week, where Indycar at Belle Isle and NASCAR at Dover ran around the same time, the two series will run different days so fans can see both events. Race fans will have a full and action packed weekend of racing this weekend and maybe the open wheelers will put on the best show.
As far as the Cup race, personally, Pocono has some streaky races. Despite some fairly good events over the last few years at The Tricky Triangle, long green flag runs at these races can cause fans start to yawn just the thought of such at Pocono. The track was designed for IndyCar vehicles, with each turn being a recreation of an open wheel racetrack. Turn one is designed after the old Trenton speedway with 14 degrees of banking. Meanwhile, Turn 2 is known as the tunnel turn because the track’s infield tunnel is underneath it. It is designed after the turns at Indianapolis. Turn 3 is the widest, more seeping corner of thetrack designed to be like the corners at The Milwaukee Mile. Its front straight is one of the longest in racing and provides for some of the best passing going into turn one on a restart. The track has improved its safety features lately by adding safer retaining walls on the inside of the track and recently they renovated the tunnel turn by adding an apron in the place of the curb that was at the inside of the corner.
Pocono has had some series accidents over the years like the 2002 Steve Park/Dale Jr crash, the 2003 Kenny Schrader crash, 1992 with Davey Allison, and the more recent Elliott Sadler crash on 2010 that registered as the hardest hit ever in NASCAR. We could very well see another big wreck this weekend at Pocono but thankfully with the improved safety, everyone should walk away just fine. Other than that, the racing, in my opinion, on this track is fairly lackluster. Passing is not that frequent compared to Dover last week and Michigan next week.
The most drama usually comes from fuel mileage strategy. Many races have long strung out green flag runs that lead to fuel mileage finishes. Love them or hate them, they lead to excitement right to the checkered flag at Pocono. So just keep in mind, regardless of how predictable the race may look on Sunday, anything can happen at the end.
The race I am most looking forward to this weekend is the Firestone 600 IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday night on NBCSN. IndyCar oval races are what make this sport what it’s all about. The IRL was all oval races when it started out and for a good reason. Open wheel oval races are exciting. With the exception of the danger, the oval races are so fun to watch and put on the best show. The extremely high speeds do not take away from the passing and action unlike NASCAR, which has struggled to find a happy medium between speed/horsepower and better racing.
Ultimately, I think the IndyCar race this weekend could likely be the highlight. Let’s look at the recent races at the Texas Motor Speedway in Indycar. In 2010, Ryan Briscoe won there, narrowly beating Danica Patrick – yes, Danica almost won!