Since 1974, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have traveled to Long Pond, Pennsylvania to race at one of the most unique tracks on the circuit – Pocono Raceway, nicknamed the “Tricky Triangle.”
While most of the tracks the teams race at are oval shaped, Pocono features a triangular layout that was designed by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rodger Ward and remains unlike any other track in the world with three different corners each modeled after a different track. Turn one, which is banked at 14 degrees, is modeled after the now-closed Trenton (N.J.) Speedway. Turn two, banked at 8 degrees, is a nod to the turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And turn three, banked at 6 degrees, is modeled after the corners at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/FOX Sports GO Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), hasn’t had the best of luck at Pocono thus far in her Sprint Cup career. While Patrick scored a 16th-place result there last August, she’s finished outside of the top-30 in four of her six starts at the 2.5-mile track. While that statistic sounds bleak, one needs to dig a little deeper to see she could be poised for a great finish this time around – with a little luck.
In her second race at the track in August 2013, she was running a respectable 18th when she was involved in a multicar accident in the tunnel turn and ended up 35th. She was poised for a solid top-20 finish before the incident.
In June 2014, Patrick was running second on lap 138 of 160, but she cut a left-front tire and hit the turn-three wall to end any chance of a good finish. She was scheduled to make another pit stop before the end of the race for a splash of fuel and, even though a top-10 was probably out of the question, a top-15 was what the team was aiming for when the accident occurred. She ended up 37th in the race, two laps down, after repairs.
Last June, Patrick ran as high as sixth and was scored in the 11th position when the No. 10 Chevrolet made contact with the outside wall on lap 136. The subsequent damage caused the sheet metal to cut down the right-rear tire. As a result, Patrick spun in turn one and the car’s right-rear corner hit the wall. The team was able to continue after significant repairs, but Patrick ended up with a 37th-place finish.
Patrick’s luck seemed to take a turn late last summer as the No. 10 Chevrolet team scored a 16th-place finish in the July race at Pocono, despite running out of fuel in the closing laps.
On Sunday, Patrick and the No. 10 Nature’s Bakery/FOX Sports GO Chevrolet team hope luck remains on their side for the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.