David Ragan No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Pocono Preview

No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver David Ragan believes most NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers share a love-hate relationship with Pocono Raceway where they’ll race 400 miles on Sunday.

Ragan says when the race car is good, Pennsylvania’s 2.5-mile triangular shaped track “is a lot of fun” for drivers.

When it isn’t, they “despise the place.” 

Fifty-six days from Sunday the Sprint Cup Series will return to Pocono for a second race which he says can be good or bad depending on success at the first race.

In just his third points race with Michael Waltrip Racing, Ragan finished 13th Sunday at Dover.

DAVID RAGAN ON LOVE/HATE WITH POCONO: “Pocono is one of those tracks you won’t like until you get a decent run there. It’s challenging. My first couple of visits to Pocono I ran an ARCA car, had a lot of fun there, and loved the place. I went back there in a Sprint Cup car, struggled and despised it for a while. I didn’t start liking the track again until I had some success.”

KEY TO POCONO: “You spend your whole time working on the car trying to get a decent balance between Pocono’s three very different turns. Turn one is more of your traditional banking, turn two is somewhat tight and turn three is flat and sweeping. The loads are different in each turn, you brake different in every corner and you shift in some.

“With this new rules package we’ll have to find out where you shift at and what makes speed then work on finding the happy medium with all the different corners. What you have to make sure you do is get your car right off turn three so you can carry that momentum down the long straightaway. Every time that I have had a good car at Pocono turn three has been a really good corner and I’ve been able to get a good run off that turn.”

POCONO RACES 56 DAYS APART: – “You don’t have a lot of time from the first to the second Poconos. You got Michigan, an off weekend, a long trip to Sonoma, a speedway race then Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indy in-between. So, you often bring the same car back. If guys have a good package from the first race it's normally pretty good the second race. By the same token, if you are struggling at the first race then it’s tough to turn around to be ready for the next race. That’s why you see guys sweep Pocono because what is good in June is usually the same setup for the August race.”

ADVICE FOR RACE FANS GOING TO POCONO: “They’ll get to see good racing at Pocono. Away from the track, you have to find the good restaurants around there. There are a couple of good restaurants just around the corner from the track kind of off the beaten path. They are local places so you kind of get the flavor of the area.”