STATESVILLE, N.C. (June 4, 2013) – David Ragan thinks that recent changes at Pocono Raceway – shortening the race from 500 to 400 miles and repaving the 2.5-mile oval – have made the racing better. And he thinks the new Gen-6 Sprint Cup Series cars will improve the racing even more in 2013.
Teams head to the triangular track in Long Pond, Pa., for the first time in the new cars this weekend for Sunday’s Party in the Poconos 400. The series will return for a second race in August.
Ragan has one top-5 and one top-10 in 12 starts at Pocono. His top finish was fifth in 2008.
Comments from Taco Bell team driver David Ragan heading to Pocono:
“I think that was a great call that the guys at Pocono Raceway and NASCAR made when they took 100 miles off the Pocono race. It adds a little different element of strategy, maybe makes us drivers feel like we need to be a little bit more aggressive and race harder the first third of the race to try to set us up for the later part. I think the racetrack since the repave has been incredibly fast. The Generation-6 cars have been very fast and already setting a lot of track qualifying records this year, so I expect to see some high speeds at Pocono.
“The summer stretch is always fun for me. It’s fun to get through the month of May, which is very busy but it’s around home. And then we start hitting the road and we start to get into that rhythm every single week, going to the track back and forth. So I can’t wait for Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Kentucky and Daytona and some of these other summer races coming up.
“Pocono has three totally different turns. Turn 1 is your more traditional corner with a lot of banking and multiple grooves. The ‘Tunnel Turn,’ Turn 2, is very flat and almost makes you feel like you’re at Indy. It’s not very sharp, so you can carry a lot of speed. But it’s got a real big curve along the bottom, and that’s where a lot of wrecks usually happen. And then Turn 3 is very flat like the Milwaukee Mile almost. I think that’s what they modeled the corners after. And it’s the most important corner. You can set cars up to pass, and you have to get off that corner fast and make it down that long, 4- or 5,000-foot straightaway. That’s the most important corner, Turn 3, for sure.”