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NASCAR National Series News & Notes – Pocono and Iowa

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Gander Outdoors 400
The Place: Pocono Raceway
The Date: Sunday, July 29
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Next Race: U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Rasmussen Group
The Place: Iowa Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 28
The Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 5 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 218.75 miles (250 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 60),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 120), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 
Next Race: Gander Outdoors 150
The Place: Pocono Raceway
The Date: Saturday, July 28
The Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 150 miles (60 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 60)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Chasing History
You know they’ve been good. But exactly how good have Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. been this season? The trio of drivers (Harvick – six wins, Busch – five and Truex – four) have combined to win 15 of the opening 20 contests.

2018 marks just the seventh season in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to see three drivers record four or more wins through the first 20 races of the year. And the last time it happened was nearly two decades years ago when Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon won four apiece to tally 12 wins in the opening 20 races of 1999. Before that? You would have to go back to the powerhouse drivers of the 1970s.

And only twice in NASCAR’s illustrious history has a trio of driver won more through the first 20 races than the current “Big 3.”

In 1974, the trio of NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough (eight), Richard Petty (seven) and David Pearson (four) combined to win 19 of the opening 20 races. Amazingly, those three drivers also accounted for the next six race trophies, giving the trio 23 straight race wins after Bobby Allison won the third race of the season. The streak was broken at race No. 26 – when Earl Ross won at Martinsville; the only victory in Ross’s career.

Three years later, Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Petty won 16 of the opening 20 and 17 of the first 21 races with Pearson breaking up the three-driver party with a win at Darlington in Race 22.

Here’s a look at the seven times in which three drivers have dominated so much of the opening 20 races of the season:

2018 – Kevin Harvick (6), Kyle Busch (5), Martin Truex Jr. (4) – 15 total
1999 – Jeff Burton (4), Jeff Gordon (4), Dale Jarrett (4) – 12 total
1978 – Cale Yarborough (5), Darrell Waltrip (5), David Pearson (4) – 14 total
1977 – Yarborough (7), Richard Petty (5), Waltrip (4) – 16 total
1974 – Yarborough (8), Petty (7), Pearson (4) – 19 total
1972 – Bobby Allison (6), Petty (5), Pearson (4) – 15 total
1962 – Jack Smith (4), Joe Weatherly (4), Rex White (4) – 12 total

Powerful Heading Into Pocono
If you thought the “Big 3” couldn’t possibly keep up their near-historic pace of winning – be prepared. Martin Truex Jr. won at this week’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series venue, Pocono Raceway, earlier this summer and Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick finished third and fourth, respectively.

Last year, Busch won the second Pocono race, followed by Harvick and Truex. There’s a theme. A recurring, high-performing, headline-making theme for these three dominant drivers in 2018. Here’s a look at their outlook heading into Tricky Triangle.

Harvick: Fresh off his hard-earned win over Busch with a bump-and-run in the waning laps in New Hampshire on Sunday, Harvick arrives in scenic northeastern Pennsylvania looking for his first career victory at the 2.5-mile Pocono triangle. It’s one of only two venues (including Kentucky Speedway) on the current Monster Energy Series schedule where he hasn’t won yet – in 35 career starts.

Harvick was fourth in the June race at Pocono this season and has finished in the top-10 in seven of the last eight races. Four times he’s been the race runner-up.

A win last week in the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and top-five finishes in six of the last seven races on the 2018 schedule certainly give Harvick every reason to be optimistic about establishing some personal history Sunday.

Busch: Busch returns to Pocono as the defending winner of the late-summer Gander Outdoors 400. But similar to Harvick, he hasn’t necessarily posted his best career results at the unique track. That victory is his only one in 27 Pocono starts. He is coming off four consecutive top-10 efforts, however, including a third place in June. His 12 top-10 hauls in 27 starts makes this one of his lower yielding venues overall.

The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota continues to only look forward, however. Busch continues to answer the call in 2018 – leading the season points standings for the 15th consecutive week, his runner-up showing to Harvick last weekend still giving him a 53-point advantage. He has seven top-five finishes in the last eight races.

Truex: Truex may have the lowest total victory count among the three series frontrunners, but he does hold the distinction for most wins (two) in the six races since the series last raced at Pocono – a race that Truex won, giving him three wins in the past seven races overall.

The driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota has nine top-five finishes in the last 10 races, including three wins (Pocono, Sonoma, Kentucky) and three runner-up showings (at Kansas, Charlotte and Daytona).

Overall at Pocono, Truex has a pair of wins at Pocono, started from the front row three consecutive times (2016-2017) and led 83 laps in the last four races.

Pushing for the Playoffs
With just six races remaining in the regular season, and only seven drivers locked in on wins, the pressure is on this weekend in the Gander Outdoors 400 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to get to Victory Lane for the chance at postseason glory.

Here’s a look at active, championship-contending drivers who have wins at upcoming tracks but have yet to visit Victory Lane in 2018:

Pocono: Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman
Watkins Glen: AJ Allmendinger, Hamlin
Michigan: Ku. Busch, Hamlin, Johnson, Kahne, Kyle Larson, Newman
Bristol: Ku. Busch, Hamlin, Johnson, Kahne, Keselowski
Darlington: Hamlin, Johnson
Indianapolis: Kahne, Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Newman

Fond Memories
Ryan Blaney will of course remember Pocono Raceway as the place he scored his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in 2017. But right now, he’d love the track to be the place he scores his next, a 2018 Playoff-insurance victory.

The popular 24-year old driver of the No. 12 Team Penske Ford has four top-11 finishes in five Pocono starts. He won the pole position there in June and finished sixth.

And Blaney seems to be recovering from a rough three-race midsummer swing of finishes outside the top 15, including two finishes of 34th or worse. He was runner-up at Kentucky two weeks ago and seventh last Sunday at New Hampshire.

Champion’s Pocono Groove
There are still four former Monster Energy Series champions looking for their first victory of the 2018 season – Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

Of those, Johnson and Busch boast three Pocono victories each. Keselowski and Kenseth have won there once in the Monster Energy Series as well.

Busch appears to have the most favorable momentum heading into this week’s race with top-10 finishes in the last two races. And he won the Busch Pole position in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford last week at New Hampshire. Of the four winless series champions, he is the most recent winner at Pocono (June, 2016) and has seven top-10 finishes in the last 11 races at the Tricky Triangle.

Keselowski, who won at Pocono in the July race in 2011, has six top-five finishes in his last six races at the track, including runner-up finishes in the July races in 2015 and 2016 in this race.

Kenseth, who is sharing a drive in the Roush-Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford, has five top-10 finishes in his last seven Pocono starts.

Johnson, who has three wins and four Busch Poles in the Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet finished eighth here earlier this season, but overall has struggled as of late at Pocono – with DNFs in three of the last five races.

Popular driver Aric Almirola seemed almost heartbroken on pit road Sunday following the New Hampshire race. His third-place finish was his best showing in his debut season as driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and he truly hoped to hoist the winner’s trophy. He led 42 laps and was every bit in contention to pick up his first victory since a dramatic win at Daytona in 2014 for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Almirola can be encouraged, however, as the series moves to Pocono. His new team looks to be a harbinger of better finishes for him at the track. He was seventh in June – his first top-10 in 12 starts there.

The Tampa native has three top-10 finishes in the last five races of the season and is ranked a solid 11th in the championship standings, looking to make his first NASCAR Playoffs since 2014.

Rookie Race
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie battle is currently a tale of two directions for the two fan favorites, Bubba Wallace and William Byron.

Byron, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, is coming off a 14th place finish at New Hampshire. He’s had three top-11 finishes in the last five races and is ranked 21st in the standings – ironically, 43 points ahead of Wallace who drives the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. Byron was 16th in the June Pocono race.

Wallace is 24th in the points standings and has had only one top-20 in the last five races – a 14th place showing at Daytona – where he was runner-up in February’s season-opening Daytona 500. Wallace made his first career Cup start at Pocono last year, filling in four races for driver Aric Almirola in the No. 43 RPM car, and finished 26th. He was 38th in the race there this June, retiring early with engine problems.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Allgaier Looking For Iowa Season Sweep
Back in June, JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier seized the checkered flag at Iowa Speedway in imposing fashion, leading 182 of the 250 scheduled laps. Now the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the famous mid-western 0.875-mile track to put on another great show for the fans and see if Justin Allgaier can become just the second driver in series history to win consecutive races at Iowa Speedway; joining Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who won three straight from 2011-2012.

Currently fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship standings, Justin Allgaier and No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team have posted two wins (Dover-1 and Iowa-1), eight top fives and 13 top 10s.

If Allgaier accomplishes the feat of sweeping both races at Iowa this season, it will be the first time in his career he has won two races at a single track in a single season.

Justin Allgaier has made 13 series starts at Iowa posting one win, two top fives, nine top 10s and an average finish of 10.5 – fifth-best among active drivers this weekend.

Number 9? Eight Different Winners In Last Eight Races At Iowa
Since August of 2014, there have been eight straight races with different winners at Iowa Speedway, and this weekend fans will have the chance to possibly see a ninth different winner in as many races. The NASCAR Xfinity Series action will be in high gear on Saturday, July 28 at 5 p.m. ET (on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) when the green flag drops on the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Rasmussen Group.

Brad Keselowski’s most recent win at Iowa back in 2014 kicked off the streak and since then Chris Buescher (May 2015), Ryan Blaney (August 2015), Sam Hornish Jr. (June 2016), Erik Jones (July 2016), William Byron (June 2017), Ryan Preece (July 2017) and Justin Allgaier (June 2018) have all enjoyed the spoils of victory at Iowa Speedway.

This weekend, the only former winner from the streak entered at Iowa Speedway is JR Motorsport’s driver Justin Allgaier. But several drivers will be looking to add their name to the list of different winners to keep the streak alive. Below is a chart of the top 10 active drivers in average finishing position at Iowa Speedway. Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammate, Elliott Sadler, leads all active drivers in average finish with 7.4.

Average Finishing Position Active Drivers At Iowa
Rank Drivers Avg. Finish Starts
1 Elliott Sadler 7.40 15
2 Christopher Bell 9.00 2
3 Kaz Grala 10.00 1
4 Daniel Hemric 10.33 3
5 Justin Allgaier 10.54 13
6 Austin Cindric 11.00 1
7 Cole Custer 11.00 3
8 Brandon Jones 13.43 7
9 Michael Annett 14.09 11
10 John H. Nemechek 15.00 1

All Roads Lead Home For Annett & Gase In Iowa
Iowans Michael Annett and Joey Gase are returning to their home state this weekend to compete in the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Rasmussen Group at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, July 28, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Gase, a Cedar Rapids native, is currently 21st in the driver standings following New Hampshire last weekend. In 18 starts this season, Gase in the No. 35 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet has posted an average finish of 23.5.

Gase has competed in 14 Xfinity contests at his home track, posting his highest finish (18th) last June. His average finish at Iowa is 25.9.

Hailing from Des Moines, Michael Annett returns to his home state 14th in the driver championship standings looking for way into the postseason. In 18 starts this year, he has posted an average finish of 18.8.

In 11 starts at Iowa, Annett has found success in registering one top five, three top 10s and an average finish of 14.1 – ninth-best among active drivers entered this weekend.

Hemric On Point
For the first time in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric has taken the championship driver standings lead with eight races left in the regular season. Hemric is currently six points ahead of second-place Christopher Bell and seven points ahead of third-place Elliott Sadler. If Hemric wins the regular season championship, he is guaranteed a spot in the Playoffs and will be awarded an additional 15 Playoff points to take with him into the postseason.

Hemric’s ascension to the points lead has taken all season, but the North Carolina native and the No. 2 RCR Chevrolet team are firing on all cylinders. In 18 starts this season, he has posted nine top fives (third-most), 13 top fives and a series leading average finish of 8.7.

Iowa is a great place for Hemric to get his first win in the series. In three starts at the 0.875-mile track he has posted one top five and two top 10s; including a third-place finish earlier this season.

For Whom The Bell Tolls 
One driver absolutely ringing the bell this season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series is Joe Gibbs Racing’s rookie Christopher Bell, who has won the last two races (Kentucky and New Hampshire) and looks to add his name to the record books by making it three in a row this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

Bell is currently second in the championship points standings, but is firmly planted as the No. 1 seed going into the Playoffs. Bell has posted three poles, three wins, 11 top fives (series-most) and an average finish of 10.3. By the way, his three wins are tied with Kyle Larson for the series-most this season.

Now the 23-year old from Oklahoma has the opportunity to join seven other drivers that are tied for the second-most consecutive wins in the series. Sam Ard currently holds the NASCAR Xfinity Series record for consecutive wins with four victories set back in 1983; when he fattened his trophy collection by winning at South Boston, Martinsville, Rougemont and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Bell has made two starts at Iowa and he finished runner-up to Justin Allgaier earlier this season.

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc. 
Part-Timer Kyle Benjamin Is One To Watch In Iowa – Check the entry list and you won’t see a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship contender entered this weekend, opening up some solids seats for part-time drivers to make a name for themselves. One such part-time driver who recently did just that at Iowa is Ryan Preece, who won this race last season with Joe Gibbs Racing. This weekend, Kyle Benjamin will get the chance to jump behind the wheel of the No. 18 JGR Toyota. Benjamin has made one other start this season at Atlanta with the same team; they posted a top 10. But Benjamin returns this season looking for redemption at Iowa as the rising star finished runner-up to Preece in this race last season.

Briscoe’s Back, Back Again – Fresh off a big win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway in the Eldora Dirt Derby for ThorSport Racing, Chase Briscoe is strapping into the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford this weekend at Iowa Speedway, looking to keep the positive momentum going. Briscoe has made eight NASCAR Xfinity Series starts this season, posting one top 10 and an average finish of 18.6. This will be Briscoe’s series track debut at Iowa this weekend.

Quick Track Stats: NASCAR Xfinity Series – Below are some quick stats to wet your appetite for the great action upcoming this weekend in the U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Rasmussen Group at Iowa Speedway on July 28 at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:

Xfinity Races: 17
Jeremy Clements leads the series in starts at Iowa Speedway with 16.

Pole Winners: 12
Former Xfinity Iowa pole winners entered this weekend – Elliott Sadler (Aug. 2011, 2012 sweep), Christopher Bell (June 2017) and Austin Cindric (June 2018).

First Time Pole Winners At Iowa Speedway: 6
A total of six drivers have won their first NASCAR Xfinity Series pole at Iowa – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2009), Drew Herring (2013), Ryan Blaney (2014), Christopher Bell (2016), Ryan Preece (2017) and Austin Cindric (2018).

Race Winners: 11
Former Xfinity Iowa winners entered this weekend – Elliott Sadler (2012), Justin Allgaier (2018).

First Time Winners At Iowa Speedway: 3
Iowa has been the home to three drivers finding their first trip to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Ricky Stenhouse Jr., May 2011; William Byron, June 2017 and Ryan Preece, July 2017.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

From Dirt to Asphalt, Trucks Head to Pocono
Drivers are preparing for the Gander Outdoors 150 a little bit differently than they were preparing for last week’s Eldora Dirt Derby, when Chase Briscoe took home the victory at the Rossburg, Ohio, dirt track. It was a heartbreaking loss for Grant Enfinger, who battled it out with his ThorSport Racing teammate Briscoe until the very last second. Stewart Friesen came in third at Eldora, followed by Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt who completed the top five.

This week the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is on the road to Pocono Raceway for the Gander Outdoors 150 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). This is the ninth race for the Truck Series at Pocono Raceway and they have year to have a repeat winner through the first eight races at the 2.5-mile track this Saturday.

In previous years, the race winner has never started outside of the top 10 and three race winners started from the pole (Elliott Sadler in 2010, Kevin Harvick in 2011, William Byron in 2016). Chevrolet has won four times at the track and Toyota has won three times – actually comprising of the most recent three races at Pocono (2015-2017). Ford has only won once, in 2013, with Ryan Blaney.

Last year, Christopher Bell took home the victory, leading seven laps before crossing the finish line.

Kyle Busch is entered to race this weekend at Pocono. Busch hasn’t run in the series since the Charlotte race earlier this year, where he finished in second place. Of his four starts, he has not started outside of the top 10 and he hasn’t finished outside of the top five except for a 21st-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway after starting from the pole.

Busch has visited Pocono Raceway three times in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series grabbing one win, two top fives and two top 10s. Last year, he led 32 laps before he was involved in a crash that put him in 25th place.

Multi-Race Winners at Pocono Raceway
There has never been a multi-race winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Pocono Raceway since the series debut in 2010.

Right now, the only driver who could potentially grab second win at Pocono is Kyle Busch as there are no other previous race winners entered this week. If Busch wins on Saturday, he will be the first driver to win two races at the Tricky Triangle.

A First Time For Everything
As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Pocono Raceway on Saturday for the Gander Outdoors 150 (1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), there are eight drivers entered to race who have never visited the 2.5-mile track before.

They are: Todd Gilliland, Myatt Snider, Robby Lyons, Dalton Sargeant, Josh Reaume, Bo LeMastus, Bayley Currey, Ray Ciccarelli, Tanner Thorson and Timmy Hill.

There are also several drivers heading back to Pocono Raceway for only the second time of their career.

They are: Camden Murphy, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Justin Fontaine, Stewart Friesen, J.J. Yeley, Grant Enfinger and Reed Sorenson.

Norm Benning, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter have all visited the Tricky Triangle eight times in their career, the most of any driver in the Truck Series.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year Update
As the season continues to wind down with only three races left until the Playoffs, here’s a closer look at the rookies competing for Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

Todd Gilliland – Gilliland has run in nine of the 13 races so far this season, starting outside the top 10 in only one of those races. He has one top five and five top 10s and has led 65 laps so far this season. Right now, he sits in 13th place in the points standings. His best finish was a runner-up finish at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Myatt Snider – Snider has posted one top five and five top 10s through the opening 13 races. He has led 12 laps so far this season. Like Gilliland, his best finish was at Gateway Motorsports Park where he started in 14th and made his way up to fourth. Currently, Snider sits right under the Playoff line and is the highest ranked rookie.

Dalton Sargeant – Sargeant is sitting in 11th place in the points standings right now. He finished in sixth place at Las Vegas, which was his season-best to date. He has four top 10 starts under his belt this season. He led 29 combined laps at Daytona, Las Vegas and Chicagoland, marking the first time the rookie has led laps in a race.

Justin Fontaine – Fontaine has two top 10s under his belt and he led two laps at Las Vegas, the first laps he’s led in the series. His best finish was also at Las Vegas. Fontaine is sitting in 16th place in the point standings right now.

Stage-Winning Gragson Battles Week By Week
Noah Gragson has not finished a race outside the top-10 since Dover, where he was involved in a crash that resulted in a 20th-place finish.

Gragson has started in the top five in 11 of the 13 races. Last week at Eldora, he started in 27th place and managed to make his way back to a sixth-place finish.

For back-to-back weeks (Chicagoland and Kentucky), Gragson started from the pole and finished in the top 10.

He has the most stage wins of any driver in the series with seven and sits in second place in the points standings behind Johnny Sauter, who has two stage wins. Third place Brett Moffitt has one stage win, Grant Enfinger has two and Stewart Friesen rounds out the top five in points and has three stage wins.

Gragson’s first time visiting Pocono Raceway was last year. He started in eighth but was involved in a crash that placed him in 24th.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Etc.
OEM Battle: The manufacturer standings are getting closer and closer each week as the battles on the track continue. Chevrolet still leads by 14 points over Toyota with six wins. Toyota follows in second place with five wins and Ford is now only 38 points behind the leader with two wins.

At Pocono Raceway, Toyota has dominated the last three years, and if a Toyota wins again this weekend, they will be the only manufacturer with four or more wins at the Tricky Triangle in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Crafton Still Craving A Win: Matt Crafton has visited Pocono Raceway eight times in his career but has yet to win at the track. Along with his first track win, Crafton is also searching for his first win of the season. At Pocono, he has five top-10 finishes and two top fives. Currently, Crafton sits in sixth place in the points standings and has five top fives and six top 10s under his belt this season. He has not had a winless season since 2012.

Playoff Standings: If the season were to end right now, there wouldn’t be a Sunoco Rookie in the Playoffs for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Unfortunately, Myatt Snider is right under the cut line in ninth and Dalton Sargeant is in 11th. Right now, the Playoffs would include: Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhodes, Justin Haley, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen and Matt Crafton. Sauter, Moffitt, Gragson, Rhodes and Haley are all in the Playoffs because they secured their position with a win this season. Enfinger, Friesen and Crafton have put themselves in Playoff-contending position based on points.

Pennsylvanians At Pocono: There are some notable team members heading to Pocono Raceway that call Pennsylvania their hometown. Austin Hill’s mechanic Adam Risher is from Pottstown, Pennsylvania, which is only about an hour and a half from the raceway. Stephen Sokol, a tire carrier for Noah Gragson’s team is from Ohioville, Pennsylvania. Anthony Hirschman III, Gragson’s spotter is from Northampton, Pennsylvania, which is less than an hour away from Pocono Raceway. Todd Gilliland’s mechanic, Brandon Barr, is from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Norm Benning’s team manager, Linda Nicholas, is from N. Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Benning’s fueler and crew chief Angelo Calabrese is from Hazleton, Pennsylvania, only a half an hour commute to the track, and Benning himself is from Level Green, Pennsylvania.

By The Numbers: Pocono Raceway
0.270 – Closest margin of victory (8/3/13)
1 – Most wins (eight drivers) and most poles (six drivers)
2 – Fewest leaders
2.5 – Mile track length
3 – Most Top Fives by a driver (Joey Coulter, Austin Dillon, Johnny Sauter)
4 – Most wins by a manufacturer (Chevrolet)
5 – Most Top 10s by a driver (Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter)
6 – Different pole winners
7 – Most leaders
8 – Different race winners
9 – Most cautions
10 – Most lead changes
14 – Degree banking in Turn 1
15 – Fewest finishers on lead lap (8/4/12)
26 – Most finishers on lead lap (7/31/10)
27 – Most caution laps
53 – Most laps led by a race winner (8/1/15)
60 – Lap race
150 – Mile race length
1,780 – Feet – length of shortstretch
3,055 – Feet – length of backstretch
3,740 – Feet – length of frontstretch