Hard Crash at Pocono, Changes forthcoming??

Dale Wilkerson                                             August 2010

Even with the savage crash that Elliott Sadler had with the inside wall Sunday at Pocono, most of the water cooler talk surrounds the length of the races at the Pennsylvania Triangle.
At first glimpse, a shorter race sounds great. With the lack of banking on this uniquely designed track, lap times are nearly a minute. Some folks think making these races 400 miles, or 160 laps, or even 500 kilometers, which works out to 312 miles would be good for business.
So let’s look back a few years. Folks gripped about 500 miles at Rockingham and Darlington. Both races at Rockingham were cut down to 400 miles while the spring race at Darlington was cut back to 400 miles. How was this received by race fans you ask?? Not too good!!!!
Not only were these three races shorten, but the ticket prices went up $10 per seat. Race fans responded by not going. Now Pocono wasn’t completely full Sunday’s race, but if both races are shortened, fans might respond the same way fans did at Rockingham and Darlington.
The infield campground was jam-packed and the grandstands had a large group of fans that seemed to tough out the weather and really enjoyed the race.
Yes a race can get long at Pocono, but the drivers and fans know that fact. If a race is shortened at Pocono, they better show that in the ticket prices for that event. If you cut 20% of the race, ticket prices should fall 20% also or attendance will drop by 20%.
As for Elliott Sadler’s crash, the new car design showed us once again that it was well worth the money. I do feel bad for the owner’s of the Pocono Speedway. They announced in the driver’s meeting Sunday morning that improvements would be made to the retaining walls and catch fencing along the Long Pond Straight and the Short-chute.
Sadler’s crash pointed out a spot that needs attention, but even with the damage to his car, what was there was a lot better than hitting a solid concrete wall.