Pocono is the last race track to be independently owned. The track was the idea of Drs. Joe and Rose Mattioli of the Philadelphia area. Back in 1952 Joe and Rose met at Temple University. Joe was going through Dental School and Rose later became a Podiatrist. In 1960 they purchased a 1,000-acre spinach farm in the Pocono Mountains of PA with the thought of bringing racing to the New York-Philadelphia metropolitan area.
The first track was a 3/4 mile track on site, but by 1971 the track was rebuilt to be a 2 1/2 mile tri-oval. The track was designed by former Indy 500 winner, Roger Ward.
There a three very distinctive turns and the longest straight away on the NASCAR circuit. Turn #1 is modeled after the now defunct Trenton Speedway in NJ with a banking of 14 degrees, the Champ Cars used to race there in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Turn #2 is modeled after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a banking of 9 degrees. And finally, turn #3 is modeled after The Milwaukee Mile with banking of 6 degrees.
Notable NASCAR firsts at Pocono:
1. Richard Petty wins inaugural race in 1974.
2 1986, Tim Richmond wins after recovering from an early crash to beat Ricky Rudd and Geoff Bodine in a photo finish.
3. 1988, Bobby Allison suffers a career ending injury in a first lap crash getting T-boned by by #63 Jocko Maggiacomb.
4. 1999, Bobby Labonte sweeps both races.
5. 2000, Jeremy Mayfield knocks the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. out of the way to win the race.
6. 2006, Rookie Denny Hamlin sweeps both races.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!