NASCAR Notes: Pocono Change A Turn For Better
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on June 3, 2014 | 2:52 P.M. EST
The curb in Turn 2 at Pocono Raceway has been removed to the approval of drivers. (Photo: Getty Images)
One of the most difficult corners in NASCAR has a new look. The curb at the bottom of Pocono Raceway’s tunnel turn has been removed and in its place is about 15 feet of apron.
For drivers who tested there last week, they’re glad to see the curb removed. Clint Bowyer said he once hit it and it damaged the front of his car. Jamie McMurray noted that hitting the curb shoots a car up the track in traffic.
With the curb gone, the question is if drivers will use that apron to cut the corner this week when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns.
“It just kind of gives you the opportunity to go down low if you’re trying to avoid something where as before you were going to hit the splitter and probably cause an accident,’’ said Ryan Newman, who tested there last week.
Bowyer said he expects someone to shoot down to the apron off a restart.
Along with that change, Pocono Raceway added 525 feet of SAFER barrier on the inside wall in the tunnel turn (Turn 2) and also added catch fence in that area.
Hendrick Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing are each testing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday. The forecast for Wednesday, though, could prove challenging with a 60 percent chance of rain there.
This the first of four tests teams are allowed at NASCAR tracks for Hendrick Motorsports. This is the second of four such tests for Chip Ganassi Racing. The team tested at Pocono last week.
JTG Daugherty is testing with AJ Allmendinger on Tuesday and Thursday at Sonoma Raceway.
Denny Hamlin became only the third driver this season to score a top-10 finish after serving a penalty for speeding on pit road when he placed fifth at Dover.
Thirty-two different drivers have been penalized for speeding at least once this Cup season. Joining Hamlin as the only drivers to recover to finish in the top 10 are Kyle Larson, who was second at Auto Club Speedway, and Casey Mears, who finished 10th in the Daytona 500.
The last driver to overcome a speeding penalty and win a race was Matt Kenseth last year at the Bristol night race.
Kurt Busch, Travis Kvapil, David Ragan and Hamlin had been penalized a series-high four times this season for speeding on pit road.
Kyle Larson is entered in the ARCA race this weekend at Pocono Raceway ... Kyle Busch will skip this weekend’s Camping World Truck race in Texas. He’ll have Erik Jones in the No. 51 ride. ... The last six winners of the June Pocono race were won by drivers who each started in the top five. ... Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson have combined to lead 44 percent of the last nine Pocono races. ... Tony Stewart has an average finish of fifth in his last four Pocono races. ... This is the first time since 2010 that Matt Kenseth has not scored a victory 13 races into the season.