Post-Race Reactions: Pocono Mountains 125
Listen to what all the top finishers ahd to say about today's Pocono Mountains 125 .
Pocono Raceway adds XFINITY race for '16
Pocono Raceway officials announced Tuesday the addition of a NASCAR XFINITY Series event to the track's 2016 racing schedule. The 250-mile race is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and will be part of a three-race weekend at the 2.5-mile track. The Sprint Cup Series' Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 is slated for Sunday, June 5 while the Pocono 200 ARCA Racing Series event will kick off the weekend's racing activities. It will be the first appearance for the XFINITY Series at Pocono , which has hosted NASCAR-sanctioned events since 1974. Track president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky said race fans "have been asking for this to happen for several years." Comcast, parent company of series sponsor XFINITY , is based in Philadelphia. "From Day 1 we've been focused on enhancing the way fans experience NASCAR and highlighting the competition and youth in the XFINITY Series," Matt Lederer, director of sports brand marketing for Comcast, said. "The addition of an event at Pocono Raceway in our home state ... will help carry the momentum built in the first year of our partnership into 2016." In addition to the June race weekend, the Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for July 31 at Pocono , along with the Pocono Mountains 150 Camping World Truck Series race and Modspace 125 ARCA event. Camping World Truck Series teams have been competing at Pocono since 2010 while the ARCA Series began competing at the track in 1987. " Pocono is a very unique track," current XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher said. "I'm excited that we are adding a new track to the XFINITY Series schedule. I've raced there a considerable amount in the ARCA Series and have always enjoyed it. It will be a good challenge for the XFINITY teams."
Pocono Raceway adds more SAFER barrier
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Pocono Pocono Raceway officials have announced the completion of a project that has added more than 5,000 feet of Steel and Foam Energy Resistant (SAFER) barrier around the 2.5-mile track. The barrier was put in place along the 3,740-foot frontstretch as well as areas between Turns 2 and 3, according to a track release. In addition, each of the track's three crossover gates have been upgraded and now consist of SAFER materials. The upgrade comes one year after officials installed more than 6,000 feet of SAFER barrier around the track and brings the total to more than 23,000 feet for the facility. Pocono Raceway has hosted Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races annually since 1974. The track will host two race weekends for the series this season, the Pocono 400 on June 11 and the Pennsylvania 400 on July 30. The 2.5-mile venue also hosts a NASCAR XFINITY Series race in June and a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race as part of its July race weekend. RELATED: Pocono to hold qualifying, race on same day for July event It is the only track hosting the series that features three turns, hence the facility's "Tricky Triangle" nickname. Kurt Busch won last year's June event while Chris Buescher scored his first career win in the series second stop last August.
Pocono to hold qualifying and race on same day
BUY TICKETS: See the action at Pocono Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series fans should be ready for a full day of action at Pocono Raceway on July 30. The track announced Monday that both qualifying for the Monster Energy Series and the Pennsylania 400 race will be held Sunday, July 30. Thus far, Pocono is the only track to announce it will have qualifying and the race on the same day for the sport's top series. On a t ypical race weekend, Monster Energy Series qualifying is held on Friday afternoon. The schedule for Saturday, July 29, will include Monster Energy Series practices paired with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ' qualifying and the Pocono Mountains 150 . In NASCAR's first trip of the year to Pocono Raceway June 9-11, the track will operate under the standard schedule where Monster Energy Series qualifying is held on Friday with a practice as well as a NASCAR XFINITY Series practice. Saturday will see more practice time for the Monster Energy Series as well as XFINITY Series qualifying and the Pocono Green 250 race.
Fifth annual NASCAR Race To Green celebrates industry-wide effort
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- To commemorate the holistic effort being made to help protect and preserve the environment, NASCAR® announced its fifth annual NASCAR Race to Green ™ initiative. Beginning today and culminating with Sunday's TOYOTA OWNERS 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the initiative will build awareness around the programs NASCAR, the industry and multiple partners have developed to help reduce its carbon footprint. A key pillar of NASCAR Race to Green is a call-to-action for fans and the industry to donate trees that will be planted across the country as well as in areas recently devastated by natural disasters. Fans can visit NASCAR.com/green to donate trees -- $1 per tree for a 2-3 foot sapling -- to be planted in those areas with the support of the Arbor Day Foundation. Fans are encouraged to share their own efforts around being green by using the hashtag #NASCARGreen. "The Race To Green initiative allows us to highlight the foundational partners that help reduce our impact on the environment all year long," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "As an example of the wide range of initiatives taking place across the industry, American Ethanol has helped us eclipse 10 million miles on Sunoco Green E15, Safety-Kleen recycles all oil and lubricants at more than 200 race events a year, and collectively as an industry more than 400,000 trees have been planted to date. We are proud to continue those efforts under the Race to Green umbrella." As part of this year's initiative, NASCAR fans visiting NASCAR.com/green will be treated to a newly designed digital destination, complete with easy-to-access information, news, an interactive carbon calculator and more. NASCAR Green will debut a new TV spot today as well, featuring a newly created NASCAR Green logo. NASCAR Race To Green will highlight the sustainability efforts of its teams, tracks and NASCAR Official Partners, who work closely with NASCAR, year-round. While NASCAR Green initiatives span the entire year, the following additional activities will take place throughout this week-long effort: • In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, NASCAR Official Partners have committed to donate trees to Tennessee residents affected by the Chimney Tops 2 Fire in November 2016. NASCAR will match the donations made by its Official Partners. • As part of the 16th annual Comcast Cares Day, NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will join Comcast volunteers for a Habitat for Humanity build in Johnson City, Tenn. NASCAR will donate trees for the newly built homes. • Pocono Raceway will release a Sustainability Report that details the initiatives it has in place to be environmentally responsible, including its recycling program, solar farm and more. • In partnership with Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Elliot Sadler will visit Oak Mountain Elementary School in Birmingham, Ala. to donate 750 tree saplings provided by NASCAR and the Arbor Day Foundation. • Today, Danica Patrick will help Mobil 1 spotlight its Mobil 1TM Annual Protection, allowing drivers to go one full year -- or 20,000 miles -- between oil changes, with a ceremonial pour at Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR Green was launched because it was the right thing to do for the country, climate and fans. Since 2008, NASCAR has taken a holistic approach across its wide-ranging effort to reduce our impact on the environment, including: • NASCAR and the industry have planted enough trees to completely offset carbon emissions for all three national series racing for the past six years, plus the next 40 years. • NASCAR eclipsed more than 10 million competition miles on Sunoco Green E15, demonstrating that the ethanol blended biofuel stands up to high performance racing while significantly reducing emissions. • Safety-Kleen delivers its oil recycling and re-refining services to the track each weekend, ensuring all cleaning solvents, oil, fluids and lubricants are recaptured and incorporated into useable products. • NASCAR also features many teams and tracks using solar power as a renewable energy source, including: Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Sonoma Raceway, Roush Fenway Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports. For more information about NASCAR Race to Green , visit NASCAR.com/Green . The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue wit h the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX, P RN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Larson, McMurray surge as CGR work bears fruit
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Bristol A strong finish to the 2016 season and an equally impressive start to 2017 has placed the two-team effort of Chip Ganassi Racing squarely in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series spotlight. These are heady days for drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, crew chiefs Matt McCall and Chad Johnston, and the dozens upon dozens of support personnel surrounding the No. 1 and No. 42 teams. Not that you would know it from speaking with the principals. "No, I think that's what we expected," Johnston said of the organization's rise up the competitive ladder. Johnston's driver, Larson, is the series' points leader heading into Monday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). "I think it catches some people off guard and I think it's gotten a lot of hype, but we felt like we were pretty good last year toward the end of the year; we weren't as consistent as we wanted to be. "But performance-wise we felt like we were pretty good. We also knew we needed to continue to work hard to keep gaining on it through the offseason. I think anything less than what we started off would have been a disappointment for all of us." McCall said the resurgence is more than lip service. The results back up the attention being paid to the Ganassi organization this year. "Because you know how it is, everyone always claims they're working hard, working hard and that's the case," he said. "But until you actually have something to show for it, you really don't get to show the world that. "It's good for everyone that works here, a lot of long hours, to get a little recognition for all the work that's been put in." RELATED: Penske, Ganassi battle for early season supremacy The explanations run the gamut, from the obvious to the intricate. "I don't know what the difference ... is, but our race cars are just way faster," said Larson, who has banked one win and four runner-up finishes after seven races. "I think after we struggled so bad through this point of the season last year, (Chad) got really aggressive on what changes he wanted done in the race shop and with the race cars, with the bodies. As soon as he got his bodies and chassis built, we had a great test at Pocono (in April 2016), then we went to Dover, almost won that race; came to Charlotte, won the Showdown, almost won the All-Star Race. "Really since that point, we've had a lot of speed in our cars and we've just built on that and made them better and better." There's been no magic bullet, according to McMurray, who sits eighth in points and has four top-10 results this season. Instead, he said, it's a combination of things that have, in some cases, taken years to develop and implement. Better cars, better personnel, better decisions. The organization has been a contender before, but it's also had its share of expectations that failed to pan out. "It's been kind of years in the process of getting every department just a little bit better," McMurray, 40, said. "I think taking everybody's ideas from engineering, from the guys on the shop floor that have grown up racing, taking all that and combining it and it's all added up to a really good performance." McMurray has been "on both sides" of the situation -- those times when you show up at the track confident that you will contend and those times when you know there's still plenty of work to be done just to survive. "The frustrating part is that you know it's not one little piece," he said. "It's a lot of little, small things that are going to add up to getting you there. "(From) 2010 being as high as you can get to, by 2012 it was horrible. It was super frustrating to go every week and know that if you did everything right you were maybe going to run 20th. Super frustrating weekends." McMurray won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Charlotte fall race in '10. He also won four poles. Two years later, he had only three top 10s and finished outside the top 20 in points. "But right now we are back on top and it's so much fun to show up every weekend and know that even if your car doesn't drive great that you're going to run really well and hopefully have a shot to win," he said. Two Teams, Two Styles, One Goal There's a 16-year difference in ages between McMurray and Larson, and nearly as large of a gap in their approach to racing. Now in his fourth full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Larson's approach is simple: "I show up and drive," he said. McMurray, however, is a product of his past, having arrived on the scene at a time when "guys that were big into setups and how do you make your car drive better," he said. "I was raised with that mentality of kind of understanding the car and trying to make the right adjustments to it to make the car faster. Where Kyle really doesn't know anything about cars. He doesn't really give suggestions of what he thinks you need on the car to make it faster. He just searches around. A lot of times that works out well for him, so that's opened my eyes up to maybe not trying to make the car perfect but maybe just search around and try to find something on the track." Larson calls his teammate "a very underrated driver" with a ton of experience. "He's won every big race on our circuit," Larson said of McMurray. "I can go to him ... and just pick his brain and get any bits of advice I could, look at his data and compare it to mine. "I feel like we are very similar drivers and the way we use our hands and feet and how aggressive we are, so we mesh well together. I love working with Jamie; I hope he stays around for a long time and we can work together for a long time, as well, and have a lot of success together." While the drivers come from different backgrounds and developed different approaches, the crew chiefs come from similar backgrounds. Both McCall and Johnston had driving careers and served at one point as engineers for other teams. While experience behind the wheel has been helpful, understanding the methodology behind making a car go fast has been more crucial as the two made the move atop the pit box. "I think the driving part, that sort of changes week to week," McCall said. "Especially every time you change a package and the tires change. ... "The other side (of that) is the managing skills, the people skills -- there's no experience for that so that's definitely different on the crew chief side." Johnston said the "other side of the steering wheel pays a lot better but it comes with a lot more hassles, too." "The engineering side and just knowing all the nuances, the aerodynamics ... things like that probably helped me more than anything," he said. The two teams work as one, with key personnel working out of one trailer every week at the track. That promotes open dialogue, with both teams knowing what each is doing at any given time. The differences in the cars and their setups are minor, tweaked to suit each driver's individual needs. And their driving styles really aren't that different. While some folks make much over Larson's high-groove, sideways-here-I-come approach, Larson said it's certainly not by design. Changes in the aero package and the loss of downforce, he said, have actually hurt him as much as anyone. RELATED: Larson fast, atop the standings and having fun "Everybody thinks that because I grew up dirt racing that I like the car sideways and all this and that," he said. "But I don't. Stock car sideways is a way different feeling, a bad feeling, compared to Sprint cars. When you're sideways in a Sprint car, you still have grip; you're making more grip, to a certain point. Where with stock cars, you've got to worry about tire management so much and all that. "If anything, I would honestly say less downforce is bad for me. In 2014, my first year in Cup, we had the most downforce we've had since I've been in NASCAR and I ran really well that year. That's been my best season up until this year. I know last year we won a race and made the (playoffs) and all that, but consistently (2014) was our best up until this season. "Lower downforce, the racing is better but I wouldn't say it suits my driving style any better than it suits anybody else." Having been in the spotlight before, McMurray isn't fazed by the recent surge in attention paid to the Ganassi operation. He's just happy to be a part of the process. "I don't know that when you're on the inside that you view it that differently," he said. "When I think about our shop I know all the sacrifice and the work that's gone into this and sometimes you don't get rewarded for that. Sometimes you put all that time and effort in and it doesn't translate to speed. "But when you're on the inside, you know everything that's happened and why it is. I'm just thankful for it."
Monster Energy Series Bristol race postponed
RELATED: Full starting lineup " Live weather radar BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Sunday's Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed due to rain. The race, No. 8 on the 36-race schedule for 2017, has been rescheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start Monday. FOX will provide live television coverage; radio coverage is on the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR. "We are close to home so it will be fine," points leader Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) said Sunday morning. "Our car was good in practice and I don't think the track will be too different." Larson will start from the pole position in his No. 42 Chevrolet, the result of rain canceling Friday's qualifying and the field being set per the rulebook (owner points). With one victory (at Auto Club Speedway) and four runner-up finishes, Larson leads second-place Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports) by 17 points. " See the full lineup Rain also interrupted Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race, creating a delay of more than 90 minutes. But when the rain moved out of the area, officials were able to quickly dry the .533-mile track, and that race was run to its scheduled distance with Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing) flagged the winner. The rain continued throughout the night and through the morning, eventually forcing officials to postpone. It is the first race to be pushed to the following day due to inclement weather since last fall's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both races at Pocono Raceway last year also were delayed from Sunday to Monday. Last year's Bristol Night Race, the most recent Monster Energy Series event at the track, was postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to wet weather as well. Because the rain will wash all the rubber build-up off the racing surface, drivers will face a "green" track on Monday when the event gets underway. NASCAR officials have already announced a Lap 60 competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford) said the rain "is somewhat of a blessing in disguise." " Because (track officials were) talking about laying down more VHT and they can't do it while it's wet," this year's Daytona 500 winner said. "The VHT is like a grip applicator and you have to heat it up to make it work, so in the drag racing world the guys do a burnout through it and you have that stripe that you just heat it up and that's what has to happen for us oval guys. We have to have more cars out there to heat it up, so it's going to be like ice when we first start off and then the grip will come back once we do heat it up after this rain delay." Track officials applied an adhesive compound (VHT) to the lower lanes in the turns prior to this weekend's race at the request of drivers. A similar substance was used in 2016. Matt Puccia, crew chief of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with driver Trevor Bayne, said the rain will likely wash what remains of the compound off the racing surface and, as a result, "I think that you're going to see the top groove move up and you'll see more of the two- and three-lane racing that we've traditionally seen here." "I think there might still be a little bit of an advantage on the bottom," Puccia said, "but I definitely think the top groove will come in, which, for us, makes it a little bit more challenging because we haven't had any opportunity to run up on the top yet." Some other key story lines to consider with the rain wrecking Sunday's schedule: • Beating the Busches will be tough for competitors; and what about that pesky JGR slow start? " Read more • An updated racing groove has the track extra sticky " Read more • Two XFINITY Series drivers had an altercation that included a connected punch , and a trip to the NASCAR hauler " Read more • Kyle Busch was fast Saturday, but there were multiple spins , including one from Larson that sent his car into the wall " Read more • Larson looks like a championship contender so far, and he and teammate Jamie McMurray have Chip Ganassi Racing surging " Read more &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt
Byron wins at Pocono for fifth victory of 2016
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings MORE: New name in Chase Grid LONG POND, Pa. – Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Pocono Raceway featured no Sprint Cup drivers in the field. Then again, the race didn't need any representation from NASCAR’s top division, as dominant as William Byron was. The 18-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, led 44 of 60 laps in the No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota in a caution-filled event and pulled away to beat runner-up Cameron Hayley to the finish line by a comfortable 1.407 seconds. The victory was the fifth in 12th starts this year for the first-year driver, who broke Kurt Busch's rookie record of four wins in 2000. "That 9 is so fast," commented Hayley. "We need to really go back and look at things, because he's definitely a step above us. But we worked hard all day, and we were able to come out at least for a second-place finish. "We would have liked to win, but that 9 is pretty fast, so we'll keep trying." Byron had his sights set on the rookie record from the outset. "It means a lot," said Byron, who pitted for fuel for the last time on Lap 25 and spent the rest of the race saving gas. "It was definitely a goal—I can't lie about that. I knew that was something to beat, and we just show up with so much focus. "We never get off track, I feel like. It's just a credit to where we are as a race team, the work we're doing, the work they're doing in the shop on the trucks, and we're putting it all together when we get to the race track." Byron's wasn’t the only mark set on Saturday. The race produced a record nine cautions for 27 laps, and the spate of yellow flags allowed both Byron and Hayley to get 35 laps out of their last tanks of fuel. Christopher Bell, the victim of an early wreck when John Wes Townley knocked his No. 4 Tundra into the outside wall, lost five laps under repairs, but Bell received a series-record five free passes under caution as the highest-scored lapped truck and returned to the lead lap in time for the final restart on Lap 57. Bell rescued an unexpected 10th-place finish. "I was just out there trying to log laps," Bell said. "And the next thing you know, there was a yellow. Then there was another yellow, and they said, 'You're the lucky dog, come on around.' The last yellow put us on the lead lap, and we were able to capitalize on it. "To come out of here with a top 10 was remarkable for us." Brett Moffitt ran third in a substitute role for Matt Tifft, who is undergoing treatment after surgery to remove a brain tumor. Timothy Peters came home fourth, followed by Cole Custer. Byron increased his lead in the series standings to 25 points over second-place Matt Crafton, who finished 12th on Saturday. Daniel Hemric, who spun and collected Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Tyler Reddick to cause the fifth caution, is tied with Peters for third in the standings, 37 points behind Byron. </p>
Weather impacts Pocono on-track action
RELATED: Live radar, forecast updates for Pocono Overnight rain soaked the track at Pocono Raceway, and Saturday's schedule has been adjusted as drying efforts continue. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying was set for 9:05 a.m. ET on FS1 before wet weather canceled the event. The lineup for the Pocono Mountains 150 will be set by practice speeds; William Byron will start on the pole. RELATED: Full lineup for Trucks race at Pocono The lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series activity of the day comes at 11 a.m. with an 80-minute practice session on NBCSN. The Camping World Truck Series' Pocono Mountains 150 is scheduled for Saturday (1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) Water seeping upward through breaks in the 2.5-mile track's pavement briefly delayed the start of Friday morning's opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. This was the only delay in Friday's on-track schedule. The Sprint Cup Series' Pennsylvania 400 is set for Monday (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Rain at Pocono Raceway postpones Sprint Cup race
RELATED: Live radar, weather updates Intermittent fits of rain postponed the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway to an 11 a.m. ET Monday start. Wet weather moved into the area Saturday evening, and it was raining hard Sunday morning as teams went through pre-race inspection. A fleet of Air Titan 2.0 trucks were on hand to get the track ready as the clouds broke near the scheduled 1:30 p.m. ET start time, but rain began to fall again at approximately 2:30 p.m. ET to halt the track-drying process. The rescheduled 400-mile event will be broadcast on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM. Martin Truex Jr. is the polesitter for the 21st of 36 points-paying races of the Sprint Cup season. Truex, who prevailed in Friday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying, is one of five drivers who can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a victory at Pocono . MORE: Full starting lineup The series' first stop at the 2.5-mile triangular track was delayed until Monday due to rain, and Kurt Busch went on to find Victory Lane. This is the first time in a single year that both Pocono races have been postponed to the next day. Rain also affected on-track activities early Saturday, canceling qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. William Byron went on to win the Pocono Mountains 150 later Saturday. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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