|Kyle Busch won this race last season.|
What’s the most important thing to get right at Pocono?
“There are a lot of things you need to get right at Pocono. The biggest thing is just being good in all three corners. It always seems like you have to give up something in one of the turns to get something back in another turn. The bumps in turn two are certainly a challenge. Making sure you can get your car pointed off of turn three to get momentum down that big front straightway. There are a lot of things at Pocono that can lead to a lot of time gain on a lap there.”
What the trickiest part about racing at Pocono?
“Trying to pass people is the trickiest part because it’s so finicky there after getting your car setup by yourself in practice, but also getting it good for the traffic during the race and out-corner guys there. Having a lot of horsepower is important there, as well. Hoping we can have all of those things go right for us this week with our M&M’S Caramel Toyota. We won this race last year with a good car and some good calls by Adam Stevens up on the pit box. Mars Confectionary U.S. is just down the road and I know we will have a lot of Mars associates out at the track rooting us on. We’d like to get another win there in their backyard.”
Why do we see four- and five-wide restarts so often at Pocono? Is it because clean air is so important, or is it because you have the space to do so there?
“It’s because you have the space to do so but, more importantly, it’s about trying to get as many positions as you can at an opportune time, where everyone is bunched up together to gain the most spots in the biggest hurry. Kind of seems, once you get to where you are running, it can be difficult to pass. You get a little single-filed out and strung out and that’s where you are at until you have an opportunity during pit stops or a caution comes out.”
Pocono is the most unique track on the circuit with three distinct corners. What’s the most difficult part of the track for you?
“The hardest part of the track, for me, is probably turn one, and then turn two is the second-hardest, and then turn three is the third-hardest – turn three, last year, because of the patch they laid down. We couldn’t go down low and get underneath somebody and get a run on them because, when you come off the corner, you’re 8 to 10 mph slower than the guy on your outside and they’re just going to blow right by you going down the straightaway.”
Since the track is unique, where is the best place to make a pass at Pocono?
“Most of your passing is going to be done probably through turn one and off of turn one and getting into turn two, and if somebody can get a good run off of turn two, get back up high and get in line to get on that patch, getting into turn three. Besides that, in turn one, we just can’t get the cars to turn down there because there’s so much load on the bump stops from going 210 mph down the front straightaway and then trying to slow it down to about a ‘buck-40’ (140 mph). Turn two is kind of bumpy and kind of rough. There are different areas where you’ve got to maneuver through the tunnel turn to get your car right. If you miss it just by a little bit, you tend to knock the wall down off the corner, so it’s tight.”