Math Doesn’t Matter

"Like hell it's a road course, Brad. What? Are you nuts?"  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

“Like hell it’s a road course, Brad. What? Are you nuts?” (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Gotta an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, June 6, 2015, 3:15 p.m.

How can Pocono Raceway be an oval if it’s shaped like a triangle?

The short answer is that this isn’t really geometry even if automobile racing uses the jargon.

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutton

No oval is really an oval. Not Darlington, which also isn’t really an egg. Not Homestead. Not New Hampshire.

Pocono isn’t a road course, either, though it’s fashionable to suggest it. As a road course, Pocono is just about the worst there ever was. The cars run counter-clockwise. The track is level.

Who’d run on a road course like that? A road course can’t be where shifting is “optional.” All the turns at Pocono are left. It would be like calling that huge metal monstrosity at Indy “a pagoda.”

Whatever Pocono is, Kurt Busch is on the pole. (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Whatever Pocono is, Kurt Busch is on the pole. (Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Daytona and Talladega are shaped like a triangle, too. Sort of an inflated one. Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas are “truncated,” which is to say the front-straight kink is squared off.

Judged the same way other tracks are, Pocono has six turns. A single turn on one side of most tracks is divided inaccurately into one and two, while they are three and four at the other end.

Somehow the curves on the front straight of most tracks are officially straight. What is known simply as the trioval could be turns five and six.

They’d still be “ovals.” Officially, that is.

None of it makes a lick of sense, so call it any way you want.





About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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4 Responses to Math Doesn’t Matter

  1. Andy D says:

    I was thinking. If Richard Petty is officially the 1964 Sprint Cup champion, does that mean he was officially driving for the Fiat factory team? And since the Fiat factory team is Ferrari…

  2. Monte says:

    Why, yes. And Ray Harroun won the 1911 Indy 500 in a Honda.

  3. Hank says:

    You know Monte, I’ve often wondered the same thing. Why are the turns at Pocono not counted the same as the other speedways? Or is Pocono the only track with correctly numbered turns? Quick, someone call the Waltrip Brothers to figure this one out. They can even call their old buddy Larry Mac to give us a Hardy Boys-esque thriller.

  4. Monte says:

    I’m sure they’d take that on if we asked them.

Comments are closed.