NASCAR - Sprint Cup - Pocono 400 Preview

From The Sports Network

DATE: Sunday, June 10th
SITE: Pocono Raceway (1968) -- Long Pond, Pennsylvania
TRACK: 2.5-mile tri-oval - 3,740 feet (Frontstretch); 3,055 feet (Backstretch)
ANNUAL: 31st
CAPACITY: 100,000 (Grandstand Seating)
ANNOUNCERS: Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach, Kyle Petty
RADIO: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio
START TIME: 1 p.m. (ET)/Green Flag: 1:19 p.m. (ET)
RUNNER-UP: Kurt Busch
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (Finished 2nd)
LAPS: 160
MILES: 400
QUALIFYING RECORD: Kasey Kahne, 2004 (172.533 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Jeff Gordon, 2011 (145.384 m.p.h.)
TOTAL PURSE: $4,906,691 (2011 figures)
PAYOUTS: 1st Place - $223,836; 2nd Place - $203,800; 3rd Place - $177,666
2011 Finish
1Jeff Gordon36Dale Earnhardt Jr.21
2Kurt Busch17Juan Pablo Montoya16
3Kyle Busch348Matt Kenseth27
4Jimmie Johnson149Ryan Newman8
5Kevin Harvick3210Martin Truex Jr.31
2011 Pocono 400 Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 145.384 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 26 minutes, 21 seconds (500 miles)
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 2.965 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 4 for 14 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 18 among 10 drivers
POLE WINNER: Kurt Busch (171.579 m.p.h.)
Past Pocono 400 Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2011 -- Jeff Gordon (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 145.384 m.p.h. (race record)
2010 -- Denny Hamlin (5th) -- Toyota -- 136.303 m.p.h.
2009 -- Tony Stewart (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 138.515 m.p.h.
2008 -- Kasey Kahne (1st) -- Dodge -- 125.209 m.p.h.
2007 -- Jeff Gordon (18th) -- Chevrolet -- 136.887 m.p.h.
2006 -- Denny Hamlin (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 131.656 m.p.h.
2005 -- Carl Edwards (29th) -- Ford -- 129.177 m.p.h.
2004 -- Jimmie Johnson (5th) -- Chevrolet -- 112.129 m.p.h.
2003 -- Tony Stewart (4th) -- Chevrolet -- 134.892 m.p.h.
2002 -- Dale Jarrett (13th) -- Ford -- 143.426 m.p.h.
2001 -- Ricky Rudd (1st) -- Ford -- 134.389 m.p.h.
2000 -- Jeremy Mayfield (22nd) -- Ford -- 139.741 m.p.h.
1999 -- Bobby Labonte (3rd) -- Pontiac -- 118.898 m.p.h.
1998 -- Jeremy Mayfield (3rd) -- Ford -- 117.809 m.p.h.
1997 -- Jeff Gordon (11th) -- Chevrolet -- 139.828 m.p.h.
1996 -- Jeff Gordon (1st) -- Chevrolet -- 139.104 m.p.h.
1995 -- Terry Labonte (27th) -- Chevrolet -- 137.720 m.p.h.
1994 -- Rusty Wallace (1st) -- Ford -- 128.801 m.p.h.
1993 -- Kyle Petty (8th) -- Pontiac -- 138.005 m.p.h.
1992 -- Alan Kulwicki (6th) -- Ford -- 144.023 m.p.h.
1991 -- Darrell Waltrip (13th) -- Chevrolet -- 122.666 m.p.h.
1990 -- Harry Gant (16th) -- Oldsmobile -- 120.600 m.p.h.
1989 -- Terry Labonte (23rd) -- Ford -- 131.320 m.p.h.
1988 -- Geoff Bodine (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 126.147 m.p.h.
1987 -- Tim Richmond (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 122.166 m.p.h.
1986 -- Tim Richmond (3rd) -- Chevrolet -- 113.279 m.p.h.
1985 -- Bill Elliott (1st) -- Ford -- 138.974 m.p.h.
1984 -- Cale Yarborough (12th) -- Chevrolet -- 138.164 m.p.h.
1983 -- Bobby Allison (7th) -- Buick -- 128.636 m.p.h.
1982 -- Bobby Allison (3rd) -- Buick -- 113.579 m.p.h.
NOTE: Formerly called Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500 (1982-85), Miller High
Life 500 (1986-89), Miller Genuine Draft 500 (1990), Champion
Spark Plug 500 (1991-93), UAW-GM Teamwork 500 (1994-96), Pocono 500
(1997-2009), Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 (2010), 5-Hour Energy 500
(2011). Race changed from 500 to 400 miles in 2012.
Past Pocono 400 Pole Winners (Finish)
2011 -- Kurt Busch -- 2nd
2010 -- Kyle Busch -- 2nd
2009 -- None -- Weather
2008 -- Kasey Kahne -- 1st
2007 -- Ryan Newman -- 2nd
2006 -- Denny Hamlin -- 1st
2005 -- Michael Waltrip -- 5th
2004 -- Kasey Kahne -- 14th
2003 -- Jimmie Johnson -- 12th
2002 -- Sterling Marlin -- 4th
2001 -- Ricky Rudd -- 1st
2000 -- Rusty Wallace -- 10th
1999 -- Sterling Marlin -- 4th
1998 -- Jeff Gordon -- 2nd
1997 -- Bobby Hamilton -- 39th
1996 -- Jeff Gordon -- 1st
1995 -- Ken Schrader -- 3rd
1994 -- Rusty Wallace -- 1st
1993 -- Ken Schrader -- 2nd
1992 -- Ken Schrader -- 4th
1991 -- Mark Martin -- 3rd
1990 -- Ernie Irvan -- 17th
1989 -- Rusty Wallace -- 22nd
1988 -- Alan Kulwicki -- 27th
1987 -- Terry Labonte -- 37th
1986 -- Geoffrey Bodine -- 9th
1985 -- Bill Elliott -- 1st
1984 -- Neil Bonnett -- 14th
1983 -- Darrell Waltrip -- 2nd
1982 -- Terry Labonte -- 5th
Last Race Results
RACE: FedEx 400 (June 3rd)
SITE: Dover International Speedway -- Dover, Delaware
MILES: 400
LAPS: 400
WINNER: Jimmie Johnson
RUNNER-UP: Kevin Harvick
THIRD: Matt Kenseth
FOURTH: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
FIFTH: Clint Bowyer
POLE WINNER: Mark Martin (Finished 14th)
TIME OF RACE: 3 hours, 15 minutes, 23 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 122.835 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 2.550 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 7 for 32 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 17 among 7 drivers
LAP LEADERS: M. Martin - pole; J. Johnson 1-6; M. Martin 7-29; J. Johnson
30-60; M. Martin 61-70; M. Kenseth 71; D. Ragan 72-74; M. Martin
75-84; J. Johnson 85-210; J. Gordon 211-227; J. Johnson 228; J.
Gordon 229-244; J. Johnson 245-293; M. Kenseth 294; D. Earnhardt
Jr. 295; D. Hamlin 296-297; J. Gordon 298-324; J. Johnson
Pocono 400 Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
1Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO)Chevrolet/Banana Boat
2Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI)Dodge/Miller Lite
5Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA)Chevrolet/Farmers Insurance
9Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia)Ford/DeWalt
10Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
11Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA)Toyota/FedEx Express
13Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA)Ford/GEICO
14Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN)Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
15Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS)Toyota/5-Hour Energy
16Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA)Ford/3M/Rite Aid/NextCare
17Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI)Ford/Roush Fenway Racing
18Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV)Toyota/M&M's
19Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR)Toyota/Humphrey Smith Racing
20Joey Logano (Middletown, CT)Toyota/Home Depot
22A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA)Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
23Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC)Chevrolet/North Texas Pipe
24 *Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA)Chevrolet/DuPont
26Josh Wise (Riverside, CA)Ford/Morristown Driver's Service
27Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI)Chevrolet/Menards/Sylvania
29Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA)Chevrolet/Rheem
30David Stremme (South Bend, IN)Toyota/Inception Motorsports
31Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA)Chevrolet/RCR
32Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA)Ford/TBA
33Stephen Leicht (Asheville, NC)Chevrolet/
34David Ragan (Unadilla, GA)Ford/Taco Bell
36Tony Raines (LaPorte, IN)Chevrolet/Tommy Baldwin Racing
38David Gilliland (Riverside, CA)Ford/Mod Space
39Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN)Chevrolet/Haas Automation
42Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia)Chevrolet/Target
43Aric Almirola (Tampa, FL)Ford/Transportation Impact
47Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX)Toyota/Bubba Burger
48Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA)Chevrolet/Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
49J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ)Toyota/JPO Absorbents
51David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL)Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
55Mark Martin (Batesville, AR)Toyota/Aaron's Dream Machine
56Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ)Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
74Stacy Compton (Hurt, VA)Chevrolet/Best Western/Turn One
78Regan Smith (Cato, NY)Chevrolet/Furniture Row
83Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA)Toyota/Burger King
87Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL)Toyota/AM FM Energy Wood&Pellet
88Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC)Chevrolet/Amp Energy/Nat'l Guard
93Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI)Toyota/Burger King
98Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ)Ford/Phil Parsons Racing
99Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO)Ford/Kellogg's
* - defending champion.
Leading Contenders (Finish the last nine years)
Jeff Gordon13th4th9th34thWon14th4th32ndWon
Kyle Busch------4th22nd8th43rd22nd2nd3rd
Jimmie Johnson12thWon6th10th42nd6th7th5th4th
Kevin Harvick25th20th8th13th11th13th24th4th5th
Dale Earnhardt Jr.4th6th33rd14th12th4th27th19th6th
Juan Pablo Montoya------------20th38th8th8th7th
Matt Kenseth3rd21st32nd5th9th7th16th17th8th
Ryan Newman5th30th34th11th2nd18th5th14th9th
Martin Truex Jr.---------24th3rd17th18th25th10th
Joey Logano------------------23rd13th11th
Kasey Kahne---14th27th7th22ndWon15th27th12th
Paul Menard------------28th25th29th16th14th
Clint Bowyer---------21st10th39th12th9th16th
Mark Martin2nd36th7th17th7th10th19th29th18th
Denny Hamlin---------Won6th3rd38thWon19th
Jeff Burton14th24th19th9th13th5th9th7th20th
Tony StewartWon27th29th3rd5th35thWon3rd21st
Brad Keselowski---------------------21st23rd
A.J. Allmendinger------------39th12th29th10th25th
Greg Biffle20th11th30th6th30th15th11th28th27th
Jamie McMurray32nd9th10th18th29th20th13th36th33rd
Marcos Ambrose------------------6th30th34th
Carl Edwards------Won25th14th9th2nd12th37th
Mover of the Week
Travis Kvapil - Started in the 42nd position and finished 23rd
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Dale Earnhardt Jr
Darkhorse - Jeff Gordon
Last Week's Pick to Win (Matt Kenseth) - Finished 3rd
Last Week's Darkhorse (Kasey Kahne) - Finished 9th
Last season, Jeff Gordon passed Juan Pablo Montoya for the lead just after a restart with 40 laps remaining and then took over from there. After a round of green-flag pit stops, Gordon moved into the top position for good with 19 laps to go, easily holding off pole sitter Kurt Busch at the finish for his second win of the season and the 84th of his career, which moved him into a tie with Darrell Waltrip and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison for third on the Sprint Cup Series' all-time race winners list.

Gordon, who broke that tie later in the year in Atlanta, has struggled this season with just three top-10 finishes in 13 starts. Ranking 21st on the points list, "Speed Racer" has finished in the top-five just once.

This season, the drivers at Pocono Raceway will tour the track on a new coast of asphalt, it's first upgrade since 1995. In addition, the race will be just 400 miles over 160 laps.

In 2010, Denny Hamlin held off Tony Stewart and teammate Kyle Busch in a pair of late-race restarts and then survived a wild finish to win at Pocono. The 204-lap race ended under caution, with Hamlin picking up his fourth win in nine starts at Pocono. Hamlin is the last driver to win both races in one season, when he captured the Pocono double in 2006. Hamlin's average finish is 9.7.

A nine-car pileup occurred on the final lap when Kasey Kahne was shoved down the track and into the grass. Kahne shot up the track and then slammed hard into the wall, as his car spun around on the track. Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle were among those drivers caught up in the incident.

Tony Stewart scored his first victory as both driver and owner in the Sprint Cup Series after charging from the rear of the field and gambling on fuel in the late-stages to win the 2009 race. Stewart earned the pole since qualifying at Pocono was canceled due to rain, but had to start last in a backup car after wrecking in the next day's practice. He beat Carl Edwards out of the pits by a little more than a car length and then captured the lead with 37 laps remaining. "Smoke" drove the final 102.5 miles without refueling his No.14 Chevrolet to become the first driver/owner to win a Cup race since Ricky Rudd did it in September 1998 at Martinsville.

Stewart collected his 34th career victory and won at Pocono for the second time, with his first victory coming here in June 2003. The two-time Cup Series champion also became the fourth driver to start from the back of the field and win that year. He joined Matt Kenseth (Daytona), Kyle Busch (Las Vegas) and Brad Keselowski (Talladega).

Pole sitter Kasey Kahne reclaimed the lead on lap 185 and held on the rest of the way to defeat Brian Vickers by 3.702 seconds for his ninth career Sprint Cup title in 2008. Kahne led five times for a race-high 69 laps.

In 2007, Jeff Gordon captured the rain-shortened Pocono 500 for his 79th career Sprint Cup title. Gordon, who started 18th on the grid, reclaimed the lead on lap 98 and held the advantage through the 106th and final lap, as the race was called due to inclement weather. Pole sitter Ryan Newman finished second under caution for his first top-10 finish at this race since 2003.

Gordon is a four-time winner of this race and the last repeat champion (1996-97). Overall, Gordon has five wins, two poles, 17 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes in 38 career starts at Pocono. He has led for 957 laps with an average finish of 10.158.

Hamlin recorded the first of two back-to-back wins at Pocono with a 1.328 seconds victory over Kurt Busch in 2006. Hamlin, who later doubled in July, led six times for a race-high 83 laps. Hamlin started on the pole, leading for the first 21 laps and reclaimed the lead for the last time on lap 177 of the 200-lap race. The win, his first career title, came in front of an estimated crowd of 100,000. Hamlin has eight top-10's and four wins in 10 career starts at PR.

Chevrolet has won this race 14 times, Ford nine, Pontiac and Buick twice and Oldsmobile, Dodge and Toyota once. Seven races have been won from the pole, including two of the last four years.

This and That from Pocono: Opened in 1968 as a .75-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile oval in 1971. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was in 1974. Just one race was held from 1974 through 1981, and two a year since then. There have been 68 Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway since the first race there in 1974, when Buddy Baker won the first pole at Pocono. There have been 38 different pole winners at Pocono. Only 16 drivers have more than one Pole there. The pole has been swept just three times: Bill Elliott (1985), Ken Schrader (1993), Denny Hamlin (2006). The pole sitter has won 13 of the 68 past races at Pocono. The furthest starting position by a race winner was 29th. The top-10 starting positions have won 48 of the 68 races (71.2%).

The next Sprint Cup Series race is the June 17 Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Denny Hamlin is the defending race winner.

06/05 17:13:35 ET

As of June 5, 2012, at 05:13 PM ET
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