Nascar Exclusive Race Report

Stewart-Haas Race Report:
Pocono Raceway|6/11/2017

Greg Zipadelli|Vice President of Competition, Stewart-Haas Racing

Friday: Practice and Qualifying

“Friday we used our traditional strategy of starting in race trim before switching over to qualifying trim. Track position is a pretty important part of the equation to success at Pocono, so we wanted to make sure we focused on qualifying. Overall, we had a good practice. We showed a ton of potential.

“We always want to qualify well, but in Pocono, if you start in the top-five or top-10, you are going to run a couple tenths to a half second faster than the rest of the cars because of clean air. Those cars back in traffic are going to struggle with aerodynamic issues. That’s hard to overcome.

“All of our cars advanced out of the first round and two of our cars ended up in the top-12. I still think we are off in overall speed. It seems like the Toyotas have found some speed in the last couple of weeks.”

Saturday: Practice

“We needed to work on our race stuff Saturday to see if we could find something for Sunday. The unique part of Pocono is its three different corners. One turn has a lot of banking, one has less and another is as flat as you are going to get and it leads to the longest straightaway in the sport. There’s a ton of speed to be gained just by getting off of the flat turn three. The driver that can make up for a little bit in turn three will usually do really well here. That was where we wanted our cars. We ended up with three cars in the top-12. (Kevin) Harvick had the fastest and Danica (Patrick) the seventh best 10-lap average Saturday, so we felt pretty good.”

Sunday: Race

“It was a long hot crazy race. There were a lot of brake problems and crashes that kept changing people’s strategy. For SHR, it was a pretty decent race. Kevin finished second by a few car lengths. He just didn’t have enough there at the end to get to (Ryan) Blaney’s bumper or he could have been in victory lane. Kurt (Busch) ran well all day finishing fourth. Danica and Clint (Bowyer) were good at times and finished 16th and 17th.

“Right now at Pocono, track position is worth more than tires. As this place ages, the tires will become more important, but track position matters most now. You saw that all day Sunday. Clean air was really key.

“Everyone seemed to be having brake problems. There were some pretty scary wrecks because of brakes. We were OK, but we are going to take a look at our stuff before we come back to Pocono in July.”