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Hunter-Reay: “We’re going to put on a great show at Pocono”

Jul 4, 2014, 11:29 AM EDT

Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay has praised Pocono Raceway and says the Verizon IndyCar Series will put on a fantastic show this weekend (Sunday, noon ET, NBCSN).

It potentially could be the last one, based on a report from the Associated Press released Thursday that track president Brandon Igdalsky is concerned about a severe drop in projected ticket sales. The track is on a three-year contract to host the series; this is year two of that contract.

But considering the show Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and the rest of the field put on at Indy, that ticket drop really shouldn’t be happening.

“I’ve said it in the past: Pocono is a racetrack that fits IndyCar racing and its current spec, fits it to a T,” Hunter-Reay said during this week’s IndyCar conference call. “We’re going to put on a great show there.”

He also praised the market, which in Pennsylvania is key to the Northeast and one of the few remaining IndyCar races in this region.

“The added bonus is we’re in the right market,” Hunter-Reay said. “We need to be putting on our races there, IndyCar does. Pocono, it was a major part of the schedule back in the day, and it seems to be that now it is again.

“So hopefully the fans will receive us well there. If we keep on putting on great shows, there’s no reason it can’t work. I think this one’s going to be a 500-mile race that will come down to the wire just like Indy did.”

Winning at Indy was one thing, but delivering again for the second double points 500-mile race is another challenge entirely.

“Pocono is a completely different animal than Indianapolis. They’re both very long, and that’s about all they have in common,” Hunter-Reay said. “The two tracks require different setups. They drive differently.

“The dirty air has a certain effect on the car in turn three. It makes it hard to follow; makes it hard to set up passes. You really have to work on your racecar. You have to make it actually balance well in turn one and turn three, which is a difficult thing to do.

“To set up passes is an entirely different exercise at Pocono than it is at Indy. You’ve got to focus on different parts of the track than you would at Indianapolis, and that means a different car. It’s also a different tire, different tire compound from Firestone.

“There are many aspects and variables that go into it that make it a different beast than Indianapolis.”

Hunter-Reay seeks to rebound after contact with Takuma Sato in the pit lane last year took both drivers out of contention.

  1. worknman24hours - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Pocono needs fast cars because that track is huge!

    Can’t wait to see the race!

  2. testover6370 - Jul 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    I wish half the people who complain about not having another ovals could actually bother themselves with buying tickets to the ovals we do have, and then we wouldn’t have these problems. I consider myself a road course guy, but I buy tickets to two oval events a year. I cannot fathom why they can’t get a bigger crowd.

    • irishrugby990 - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      I agree with you, but another thing to remember is the region of the complainers vs where the race is. I mean, I am a huge Indycar fan, but I live in the Pacific Northwest, where there hasn’t been a race since CART went belly-up. Consequently, the nearest race is 12 hours south in Sonoma. There are still race fans here, but not very many of us have it in the budget to afford that long of a roadtrip just for a race. As to why Pocono is not well attended, I can only think it has gone wrong somewhere on the promotional end of things.

  3. kitnamania13 - Jul 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    Pocono is a traffic nightmare. Even with almost nobody going this year, it will still be a traffic nightmare. However, the track, the local area, and the Commonwealth don’t seem very interested in fixing this.

  4. kitnamania13 - Jul 4, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Pocono is also a terrible place to watch a race.

  5. manik56 - Jul 5, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Where are all the oval loving IndyCar fans??? Put your money where your mouth is.

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