Brian Knows His Shapes
Pocono, though flat, is not slow. Pocono, a healthy 2.5 miles in length, is not a track where you just floor it and go. And Pocono, where shifting was once required, is known to make engines blow. So mysterious is the Pocono Triangle that some stock cars enter and are never heard from again. Pocono Raceway, a triangle-shaped track nestled in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, can cause splitting headaches for anyone involved in making a Nextel Cup car go fast. It has three distinct turns, the longest straightaway in NASCAR and a short chute. Gaining speed in one corner means critical tenths are lost in another. But Brian Vickers, Red Bull Racing’s driver of the No. 83, discovered the elusive balance. For a 23-year-old in his fourth season in Nextel Cup, BV’s stats at Pocono are shiny. In six starts, Brian has never rolled off outside the top 10, nor has he finished worse than 14th. His average start is 4.5; his average finish 8.5. In this race two Junes ago driving the No. 25 Chevrolet, Brian finished second and led a race-high 121 laps. Pocono also plays into the skill set of No. 84 driver AJ Allmendinger, who, as a road racer by trade, is used to navigating unique corners.