This weekend’s Pocono 400 on the Tricky Triangle at Pocono Raceway promises to be a little trickier than usual, according to Paul Menard, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang.
Menard said the new lower horsepower/higher downforce package, plus a change in transmission rules, will make for an interesting race on the unique 2 ½ mile track that features long straightaways and three distinctly different turns.
"There will be big drafts on the straightaways and not as much braking as before," Menard said. "And with the new transmission rules, you’ll be wanting to shift but with the third gear we’re now required to use it would probably just blow the engine."
Menard said that with the components of the new package, it’ll be important for drivers to keep their momentum up, especially since they won’t be able to downshift off Turns One and Three.
"I’m not sure how it will all work out," he said. "We’ll see."
Menard will be making his 25th career Cup start at Pocono, where he has five finishes of 11th or better, the most recent coming last June.
His Wood Brothers team will be making its 64th Pocono start. The team has three wins there. Their victories came in 1975 with David Pearson driving, in 1980 with Neil Bonnett at the wheel and in 2017, with Ryan Blaney taking the win over Kevin Harvick.
Qualifying for the Pocono 400 is scheduled for Saturday at 11:35 a.m., and the race is set to start just after 2 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on Fox Sports One.