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.
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.”
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.