Mears provides ace in the hole for Team Penske
Penske Racing's Mark Donohue won the first Indy car race at Pocono Raceway (1971) and Danny Sullivan the last (1989). In between, three other drivers totaled five victories on the 2.5-mile tri-oval for the team.
Rick Mears won in 1982, '85 and '87. He added two runner-up finishes and a third place, and started from the pole four times.
"He was the master of this place," said Team Penske's Helio Castroneves, who enters the Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco on July 7 with the championship points lead through 10 of 19 races.
Castroneves has Mears, in his 21st year as a Team Penske consultant, in his corner. More accurately, on the roof of the Pocono Raceway grandstand as his spotter.
"We need to make sure we keep the lead in the championship coming out of this weekend and we're happy we have a guy like Rick Mears, who's had so much success at Pocono in the past," Castroneves added. "With the long straightaway and the unique three corners at Pocono, it's going to be an awesome race for the fans to watch on Sunday."
The design brings into play three different radius turns, three different lengths of straightaway and three different degrees of banking. The first turn has a radius of 675 feet and 14 degrees of banking. The back straightaway is 3,055 feet. The second turn has a radius of 750 feet and 8 degrees of banking. The short straightaway is 1,780 feet. The third turn has a radius of 800 feet and 6 degrees of banking. The main straightaway is 3,740 feet.
"It was like having three tracks in one," Mears said. "That was part of the fun. It's great to get back."
Tom Sneva (1977) and Bobby Unser (1980) also won for Penske Racing at Pocono.