Preview: The Pocono 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race at Pocono Raceway

Who will tame the Tricky Triangle for the Pocono 400?

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Three turns! Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers are preparing to tackle ‘The Tricky Triangle,’ one of the most challenging tracks on the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing’s circuit. Named for its three sharp turns, the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway in the Pocono Mountains is the toughest track NASCAR Cup Series drivers will compete at all season.

Pocono Raceway has three distinguished turns and one of the longest frontstretch in motorsports. Each turn at Pocono is patterned after a turn from a different race track. Known as the ‘Tunnel Turn,' turn 1 at Pocono Raceway has 14-degree banking and resembles Trenton Speedway, while turn 2, with its 8 degrees banking, is a replica of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Turn 2 is where much of the action goes down thanks to an unassuming transition. Turn 3 has slightly less banking (6 degrees) and is very similar to a turn at America’s Legendary Oval, the Milwaukee Mile track. Shifting, strategy and the ability to make adjustments during the race at Pocono will prove to be the only way to tame the triangle-shaped race track.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule for the Pocono 400:

Pocono 400 (Follow live)
The Place: Pocono Raceway
The Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018
The Time: Approximately 2 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Hashtag: #Pocono400
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50), Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100, Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

Press Pass (Watch live)
Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race: 5:00 p.m. ET

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA - JUNE 02: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Red White & Blue Toyota, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 2, 2018 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

Starting Lineup

(Position, Driver, Manufacturer)

1. Ryan Blaney, Ford
2. Kevin Harvick, Ford
3. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet
4. Martin Truex Jr., Toyota
5. Kyle Busch, Toyota
6. Kurt Busch, Ford
7. Joey Logano, Ford
8. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
9. Clint Bowyer, Ford
10. Denny Hamlin, Toyota
11. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet
12. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet
13. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet
14. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
15. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
16. William Byron, Chevrolet
17. Brad Keselowski, Ford
18. Daniel Suarez, Toyota
19. Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet
20. Paul Menard, Ford
21. David Ragan, Ford
22. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet
23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford
24. AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet
25. Erik Jones, Toyota
26. Matt Kenseth, Ford
27. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet
28. Cole Custer, Ford
29. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet
30. Michael McDowell, Ford
31. Ross Chastain, Chevrolet
32. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford
33. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet
34. Aric Almirola, Ford
35. Cole Whitt, Chevrolet
36. Gray Gaulding, Toyota
37. JJ Yeley, Chevrolet
38. Derrike Cope, Chevrolet

Past 10 Winners at Pocono Raceway

(Year, Driver, Manufacturer)

2008, Kasey Kahne, Dodge
2009, Tony Stewart, Chevrolet
2010, Denny Hamlin, Toyota
2011, Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
2012, Joey Logano, Toyota
2013, Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
2014, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chevrolet
2015, Martin Truex, Jr., Chevrolet
2016, Kurt Busch, Chevrolet
2017, Ryan Blaney, Ford

The past 10 winners above represent the first race of the year at Pocono Raceway. The Monster Energy Cup Series started racing at Pocono twice a year in 1974. Since 1982, NASCAR’s premier series has raced at the Tricky Triangle twice a year. Veteran NASCAR Cup driver Matt Kenseth leads all other active drivers with thirty-six starts at Pocono. Kevin Harvick has the second most starts at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania track with thirty-four Cup Series starts.

A Busch or a Harvick or a Blaney?

The Tricky Triangle is anyone’s race to win. Momentum is on the side of Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. The pair has won a combined nine of the thirteen NASCAR Cup races this season.

In thirty-four starts at Pocono, Harvick has not made it to Victory Lane, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t up for the challenge. Harvick has five wins, nine top-fives, and ten top-10s so far this season. Busch, who fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning the Coca-Cola 600 last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway has four wins this season. He has not shown any signs that winning is not in his immediate future. With only one career race win in the Cup series at Pocono, which he received last year, Busch is looking for back-to-back wins at Pocono.

All signs lead to both Busch and Harvick winning more races, including Pocono; however, should we expect a veteran driver to take the checkered flag or will we witness one of NASCAR's young drivers tackle the 2.5-mile track? Remember, pole-sitter Ryan Blaney got his first and only NASCAR Cup Series career win at the triangle-shaped track last year.