IndyCar drivers tune up at Tricky Triangle and 1st series spin around Pocono since 1989

  • Article by: GENARO C. ARMAS , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 25, 2013 - 3:30 PM

LONG POND, Pa. — IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay thought he was lost when he saw "NASCAR" signs lining the entrance road into Pocono Raceway.

Stay put Ryan — you're on the right track.

More than a dozen drivers took test spins around the Pocono tri-oval Tuesday in preparation for IndyCar's return to northeastern Pennsylvania on July 7 for a 400-mile race — the first open-wheel stop at Pocono in nearly a quarter-century.

"I saw 'NASCAR' on both of the tunnels coming in here. I thought there was a new tunnel we had to find" to get in, Hunter-Reay joked during a midday break from testing to help drivers figure out the track known as the "Tricky Triangle."

It's a return to open-wheel roots for Pocono, a place more known these days for its two stops on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. IndyCar raced at Pocono for 19 seasons before leaving in 1989. Danny Sullivan won that last race 24 years ago.

The reviews Tuesday were overwhelmingly positive from the Pocono neophytes.

Pocono's three corners were designed in 1965 to model corners at Indianapolis, Milwaukee and now-defunct Trenton. Almost every driver who participated in the private test Tuesday said they welcomed the tri-oval challenge.

"This track is a hell of a lot of fun, that's for sure," said Graham Rahal, whose father, Bobby, won in 1988. "It keeps your attention. It's so different than any other oval."

Rahal equated last week's stop at Iowa Speedway — the steep-banked, .875 mile oval — to a dash around a bull-fighting ring.

At 2 1-2 miles long with three distinct turns, Pocono might be the exact opposite. The 14-degree bank in Turn 1, coming out of the marathon 3,740-foot straightaway, seemed to pose the biggest question to most drivers.

Challenges similar to those encountered by NASCAR drivers.

"It's always a compromise," Hunter-Reay said when asked if he had a feel yet for how to set up the car. "If you make one corner perfect, the next one is going to be loose. That's just the way this place is. You've got to look at what pays off the most."

Guys like Rahal and Marco Andretti can lean on family ties for some advice. Andretti's grandfather, open-wheel great Mario Andretti, competed in the last Pocono race in 1989 and won the 1986 race. It's a virtual hometown track for the Andrettis, who hail from nearby Nazareth.

Marco Andretti, who also took part in a tire test at Pocono in April, said he didn't make many changes from that spring foray around the track.

"The track did a great job of making the Turn 2 curve more suitable for us. It's lot smaller than it was, so we appreciate that," he said with a smile. "Other than that, it still has three turns."

Andretti races for his father, Michael, owner of Andretti Autosport. Michael Andretti won the pole at the 1986 race won by Mario Andretti.

Hunter-Reay also races for Andretti Autosport. It was no surprise, then, to see Mario Andretti looking right at home on pit row at Hunter-Reay's stall, with bright sunlight reflecting off his sunglasses while his salt-and-pepper hair fluttered in a breeze.

About five autograph-seekers hovered nearby, hoping to snap pictures. Taking a breather during the test, Marco Andretti watched from the other end of the stall.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8 1st Qtr 6:06
Cleveland 11
New Orleans 15 1st Qtr 5:46
Washington 10
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close