Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Not Pocono Raceway?

Many folks have already commented on 2011 being the last year IndyCar will be at Twin Ring Motegi. I'll let others more able than I dissect that move, but let me just say although I'm sorry for Japanese IndyCar fans, I never really felt the race made sense from a financial, logistical, or scheduling standpoint.

There's no shortage of ovals that folks would like to see IndyCar return to; of these, certainly tracks such as Nashville and Chicagoland are always going to be in people's thoughts. However, I have to say that Open Paddock's Spike Rogan has done a fine job of selling the virtues of Pocono Raceway as a replacement venue.

Al Unser, Jr. and Chet Fillip At Pocono, 1984.
Pocono's known as the "Tricky Triangle", and for good reason; teams will tell you it's definitely a challenge to set up for the separate turns there. In my opinion, I'd love to add another superspeedway to the IndyCar schedule, and Pocono is still pretty accessible to midwesterners as well as folks closer to the eastern seaboard. It might not be the only venue I'd like to see IndyCar return to, but with a history of names such as Foyt, Mears, and the Unsers taking turns of dominance at this track, I really appreciate the legacy of the place. Does the track need some work? By all accounts yes, but I don't think that's a deal-breaker, as improvements are already being made or are in the planning phase. We're talking about a unique track that's anything but cookie-cutter that I believe would provide some great racing. Maybe it isn't the next track IndyCar comes back to, and maybe you have another favorite in mind. There's always future expansion; I wouldn't count it out.

If a return to this historical venue sounds good to you, check out the contact info in Spike's article, or better yet, let Randy Bernard know ( The squeaky wheel gets the grease! Fan input won't be the only factor in what ends up on the IndyCar schedule in the next few years, but never tell yourself it doesn't count. They're listening, and as a fan, you want to speak up for the changes you want to see.

Photo by Ted Van Pelt; licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


  1. Great post! I love all the support I can get for a return to Pocono. PLUS, as a lazy blogger I can cover that race while sleeping in my own bed at night. I live maybe 18 minutes away on a non-raceday. lol

    Seriously, this track has everything the series needs; difficult layout, super long and wide front stretch, 2 hours north of Philly, and two hours west of NYC.

  2. If Pocono can get the place up to standards (speedwise and comfortwise for the fans) Indy Car should enter into a long term agreement.....mostly because after the demise of Langhorne, Trenton and Nazareth and the loss of Pocono on the schedule a fan base has to be reestablished which has been ignored for some time.

    Because of sight lines and my love for photography I have always enjoyed Pocono from the primitive world of the suggestion, manicure and improve the infield and then cordon it off into camping spaces and parking spaces. Persons buying parking spaces own them for the weekend at a REASONABLE price, those parking pay a lesser fee. This would cure a lot of the infield problems from the past.

    Bathroom facilities both in the infield and grandstand area have to be improved.

    The race track needs either a repave or grinding to smooth it out, safer barriers all around, and a cure to the problem of cutting the apex without throwing stones on the track without crashing cars which cut it too close. I have heard the catch fencing will be surrounding the entire track which is necessary as well as some sort of surface in critical spots to prevent cars from dealling with the barely mowed grass and undulations between the apron and infield barrier.

    Lots of work just to get one race off, but if this could become an event whereby families plan around each year the benefits to IndyCar would be immense with NYC and Philly within a couple hour ride as well as much of New Jersey.

    It will take work from both IndyCar and Pocono, but if done properly it could be well worth all the work.

  3. Awesome post. INDYCAR needs to return to it's roots and well as finding new places to run to reconnect with fans. I would love to see Pocono and Michigan back on the schedule in the future. The track may not be ready for 2012 but hopefully if enough of us get behind this some momentum will be gained. Anyone who is in favor of this track returning please email Randy.

  4. Here are renovation pics btw:

  5. Couldn't agree more. I attended some of the original Pocono (Shaeffer) 500 races and they were great. It is a fantastic venue and located where it will draw fans from the east and midwest.