Thursday, June 3, 2010

POCONO NOTES & QUOTES: The Triangular Track Has An Angle For Everyone

JIMMIE JOHNSON CHASSIS SELECTION: Johnson will pilot chassis No. 558 in Sunday's race. He last drove that car to a 16th-place result at Dover International Speedway in May.

Backup chassis No. 553 has been driven four times, three of which resulted in victories (Indy 7/09, California 10/09, California 2/10).

JOHNSON TALKS ABOUT POCONO. "We just need to go out and focus on top 10's and top 5's. I think I was pushing it a little too hard in the 600 to try and stay on the lead lap – first racing hard and damaging the car and then trying to stay on the lead lap. So we just need to get back to collecting points and come in with a clear mind and a good attitude for the race and log 500 miles and get a good finish out of it."

KASEY KAHNE's KEYS TO SUCCESS AT POCONO "The straight-aways are so long, you need to get all of the speed down them that you can so your car can come off of turn three as fast as possible. I’ve always liked the uniqueness of the three different corners and the challenge that it presents to the teams to set up your car to be fast at each of the different ends."

CARL EDWARDS ON RACING AT POCONO THIS WEEK: "It will be really neat to have Tony the Tiger on my hood this weekend. Pocono is a blast to drive. I’ve got two wins there and I’ve loved it from the first time I went there. As a driver it is one of the most challenging tracks, mentally and physically, because it’s a long race. There is real character in the race track and you have to drive it real precise to get a fast lap. It’s a real rewarding track to win at because it’s one of the toughest. It will be my first weekend with a split schedule so that will be fun too racing in Pocono and Nashville."

EDWARDS CHASSIS SELECTION: The No. 99 team will be unloading chassis RK-558 this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Edwards raced at Darlington in May and finished 15th. The team will debut the Kellogg’s paint scheme for the first of two primary races this season.

MARK MARTIN (ON NOT WINNING AT POCONO.): "I've had the fastest car there about five times. I just couldn't get to the start-finish line first! (LAUGHS.) Track position plays a huge role, of course. Then you add in fuel mileage, pit stops, the timing of cautions. So many elements have to go right to win a race. I just haven't been able to put the whole package together there. It's about putting your best foot forward and making your best effort. There's no doubt that this team will do that this weekend."

MARTIN'S POCONO CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-582 for Sunday's race at Pocono. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to a 16th-place finish at Darlington Raceway last month.

PAT TRYSON (TRUEX JR CREW CHIEF) ON POCONO SET-UP: "For me, I like to focus on Turns 2 and 3 more so than Turn 1. That’s because the straightaway is so long that you do most of your passing on the straightaway. If you can go through the Tunnel Turn pretty easily, then you should be good and good enough to compensate Turn 1. To me, it’s more about getting your car to handle well in Turns 2 and 3 to have a chance to win at Pocono."

JEFF GORDON ON POCONO: "This is a fun and challenging track for the drivers, the engineers and the teams," said the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. "It has three very unique and challenging corners, and I think that is what makes Pocono so special."

In 34 starts at the 2.5-mile track, Gordon has four victories, two poles, 16 topfives and 24 top-10’s. He heads the all-time lap leaders list at the Pennsylvania track with 879 – nearly twice as many as the nearest competitor in this weekend’s event. And being out front can allow a driver to focus on the racing line and not the competition.

"The Tunnel Turn (turn 2) is one of my favorite turns that we race on during the year, but it’s also one of my least favorites," said Gordon. "It’s such a short but really fast corner. When you hit it right, it's just so incredible and such a great feeling. "It's such a thrill to go through there.

"But when you hit it wrong you lose so much momentum and time, and you're hitting the steering wheel because you messed it up. The most challenging one is probably the third turn," said Gordon. "It's just really flat, really fast and really difficult to get right. A really good exit is needed because it’s the corner that leads onto the long frontstretch."

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