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By the Numbers: Strong finish foreshadowed for Gordon

August 04, 2011, , NASCAR.com



By the Numbers: Strong finish foreshadowed for Gordon

Pocono Raceway is a 2.5-mile tri-oval with 14 degrees banking in Turn 1, 8 degrees banking in Turn 2 and 6 degrees banking in Turn 3. The frontstretch is 3,740 feet, the backstretch is 3,055 feet and the short stretch is 1,780 feet; the straights have 2 degrees banking.

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2 -- Green-White-Checkered attempts in last year's inaugural Truck Series race at Pocono, adding five laps to the regularly scheduled 50-lap event. Elliott Sadler passed Kasey Kahne on Lap 50, then held on for a .445-second margin of victory.

2 -- Laps led in last year's race for Todd Bodine, the only Truck Series regular to lead a lap in the race. Elliott Sadler (31), Kasey Kahne (17) and Denny Hamlin (5) are not entered in this week's race.

5 -- Drivers who finished in the top 10 in last year's race at Pocono who are entered in this week's event: 3. Matt Crafton; 5. Justin Lofton; 7. Austin Dillon; 8. Timothy Peters; 10. Jason White. The others: 1. Elliott Sadler; 2. Kasey Kahne; 4. Aric Almirola; 6. Mike Skinner; 9. Denny Hamlin.

7 -- Difference in finishing position in last year's race at Pocono for the top two drivers in this year's point standings: Austin Dillon finished seventh; Johnny Sauter was 14th. Sauter leads Dillon by four points in the championship hunt.

Very Interesting

1-2 -- Place of finish for trucks owned by Kevin Harvick Inc. (No. 2 Chevrolet) and Kyle Busch Motorsports (No.18 Toyota), respectively, in last year's race. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch will drive those respective trucks in this week's race.

Side note: Mark Martin (No. 32 Chevrolet of Turner Motorsports) is the only other Cup regular entered in this week's Truck race; it will be his first start in the Series since 2007.

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5 -- Wins at Pocono for Jeff Gordon, tied with Bill Elliott for most in track history. Gordon will attempt to become the first driver since 2006 (Denny Hamlin) to sweep the season at Pocono.

Side note: A driver has swept Pocono (two races a year since 1982) six times: Bobby Allison (1982), Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999), Jimmie Johnson (2004), Hamlin (2006).

5 -- Place of finish in the June event at Pocono for Kevin Harvick, his third consecutive top-five at the track. Harvick also extended his run of lead-lap finishes at Pocono to 13, the longest current streak.

Side note: Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver with a three-race streak of top-10s finishes at Pocono.

39 -- Laps led by Jeff Gordon in winning the June event at Pocono, bringing his track-leading total to 957. Only one other driver has surpassed 800 laps led: Geoffrey Bodine (810). The closest active driver is Denny Hamlin (574).

Side note 1: Gordon has led 1,000 laps at seven different tracks; he is 43 shy of making Pocono the eighth.

Side note 2: Four drivers led 37 or more laps in the June race: Hamlin (76), Gordon (39), Juan Montoya (38), Kurt Busch (37). Only Hamlin (mechanical issues, finished 19th) failed to post a top-10.

145.384 -- Race speed, in mph, set by Jeff Gordon in winning the June event at Pocono, establishing a track record. Only five other races in Pocono's 67-race history have had a race speed in excess of 140 mph: Darrell Walt rip (142.540 mph) in July 1978; Alan Kulwicki (144.023 mph) in June 1992; Rusty Wallace (144.892 mph) in July 1996; Dale Jarrett (142.068 mph) in July 1997; Jarrett (143.426 mph) in June 2002.

Very Interesting

1-2 -- Place of finish in the June race at Pocono for Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch, respectively. Gordon and Busch share the same birthday (today, Aug. 4). Gordon turns 40, Busch 33 as they return to Pocono.

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3 -- Consecutive wins at Pocono, accomplished by two drivers. Bobby Allison (Class of 2011) was the first to do it (1982-June 1983). Tim Richmond followed in 1986-June 1987).

4 -- Wins at Pocono for Junior Johnson (Class of 2010) the owner, including one each by Hall of Famers Darrell Walt rip (1979) and Cale Yarborough (1981).

Side note: Johnson-owned cars scored six poles at Pocono, currently second-most in track history.

5 -- Last-lap passes at Pocono. The first involved two Hall of Famers: Darrell Walt rip (Class of 2012) passed Richard Petty (Class of 2010) in July 1981. Dale Earnhardt (Class of 2010) was passed twice on the final lap: Rusty Wallace in June 1994; Jeremy Mayfield in June 2000.

Side note: Wallace passed Mayfield on the final lap in July 2000, the last time it has been done at Pocono.

22 -- Top-10s at Pocono for Dale Earnhardt, tied with Bill Elliott and Ricky Rudd for third-most in track history. Earnhardt made 41 starts at Pocono, with two wins and 10 top-fives.

Side note: Darrell Waltrip is seventh on the list of most top-10s at Pocono with 20. His 12 top-fives are sixth-most in track history.

Very Interesting

10 -- Races won by Hall of Fame drivers in the first 13 held at Pocono: 1974 (Richard Petty), 1975 (David Pearson, Class of 2011), 1976 (Petty), 1978 (Darrell Waltrip), 1979 (Cale Yarborough, Class of 2012), 1981 (Waltrip), 1982-June 1983 (three races, all won by Bobby Allison), June 1984 (Yarborough). The only other drivers to win during that span were Benny Parsons (1977), Neil Bonnett (1980) and Tim Richmond (July 1983).

Side note 1: Bonnett won in the No. 21 Mercury of the Wood Brothers. Glen Wood is a HOF Class of 2012 member. Yarborough's 1979 and Waltrip's 1981 wins came in the Junior Johnson-owned No. 11.

Side note 2: Hall of Famers combined to win 14 races at Pocono: Walt rip (4), Bobby Allison (3), Dale Earnhardt (2), Richard Petty (2), Cale Yarborough (2), David Pearson (1).

Iowa Speedway is a seven-eighths mile tri-oval with 12 to 14 degrees banking in the turns. The frontstretch is 1,075 feet with 10 degrees banking the backstretch is 869 feet with 4 degrees banking.

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1 -- Drivers entered in this week's race who have won at Iowa: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won in May, his only career win. Brad Keselowski won in 2009 and Kyle Busch in 2010.

1 -- Drivers with top-five finishes in the first three series races at Iowa: Brad Keselowski, who will not compete in this week's race after crashing in a test session at Road Atlanta. He will be replaced by Sam Hornish Jr.

Side note: Twelve drivers have competed in each of the first three races at Iowa: Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Mike Bliss, Carl Edwards, Michael McDowell, Keselowski, Jason Leffler, Chase Miller, Morgan Shepherd, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kenny Wallace and Steve Wallace. Bliss, Miller and Shepherd are the only ones without at least one top-10.

2 -- Drivers with top-10 finishes in the first three series races at Iowa. Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. Edwards finished runner-up in the May race.

Side note: With Keselowski out, Edwards is the only Cup regular making the trip from Pocono to race at Iowa.

77 -- Laps led at Iowa by Reed Sorenson, most of any driver entered in this week's race. Sorenson led all of those laps in May, a race high, in finishing fourth.

Side note: Sorenson trails leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by three points in the championship standings.

Very Interesting

11.3 -- Average finish for both Kenny Wallace and Steve Wallace. Both drivers best finish is sixth: Steve in 2010; Kenny in May. Steve, who won the first ARCA Series race at Iowa in 2006, is the son and Kenny the brother of track designer Rusty Wallace.

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