McDowell Likens Pocono to a Road Course

McDowell on Pocono

“You’ve got three distinctly different corners. You’ve got upshifts and downshifts, which we don’t experience on any of the other ovals we go to. And still very high speeds into very daunting corners. You carry a lot of entry speed. We’ve seen a lot of brake failures there of late and tire failures. The straightaways are so long. You get big drafts and big runs. Restarts are hectic. You can get four-wide, but everything kind of narrows up as you get down into Turn 1. You don’t have as much space, so guys get loose and get into each other. So, it’s a very tough racetrack but probably one of my best. I qualified really well there last year, made it to the third round. I qualified in the teens both races and raced really strong.

“Any time you have upshifts and downshifts, I think those are good races for me. There’s a lot of timing in it. To be able to modulate the brake pressure and make a downshift is hard to do. And the timing of how you do it and matching the revs without slowing down the corner – the guys that are efficient at that have speed there. I think just, in general, having three corners that are different makes it more like a road course. Turn 1 and the ‘Tunnel Turn’ are 180 degrees different. And then Turn 3 as well. I feel like just having an extra element of change from one straightaway to the next allows for guys with road course backgrounds to adapt quicker. Because every corner on a road course is different. And I think that’s why Pocono lends itself to those guys.”

McDowell Pocono Stats
11 starts, 1 top-20
Best finish: 18th