Simon Pagenaud, Tristan Vautier and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series paddock will make their debut at Pocono Raceway for the Pocono INDYCAR 400 this weekend, and early indications show that the “Rule of Three” will apply at all times at the “Tricky Triangle.”
According to the “Rule of Three” writing principle, when things come in three they are inherently funnier, more satisfying and more effective. Pocono Raceway’s three unique hairpin-style turns drive more like a road course than an oval, and IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Tristan Vautier expects each turn to bring its own challenge.
“The other ovals we drive at officially have four turns, but when you drive them it feels more like two turns, excluding Indianapolis,” Vautier said. “Each of Pocono Raceway’s three turns are incredibly challenging, so in reality it feels like more turns than at Texas Motor Speedway, the Milwaukee Mile or Iowa Speedway.”
Each turn at Pocono is modeled after a turn from different tracks. Turn 1 features the 14-degree banking of the now closed Trenton Speedway, Turn 2 has the nine-degree banking of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Turn 3 has six-degree banking similar to the Milwaukee Mile.
And just in case that wasn’t enough homage to the “Rule of Three,” the IZOD IndyCar Series announced that it would run a three-wide start at Pocono Raceway. The only other tracks on the IndyCar schedule that feature three-wide starts are the Indianapolis 500 and the MAV TV American Real 500 at Auto Club Speedway.
If a single driver wins at Indianapolis, Pocono and Auto Club Speedway they are also eligible for the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown $1 million bonus.
Despite being organized neatly into the “Rule of Three,” there are several unknowns that are yet to be answered as IndyCar returns to the “Tricky Triangle” after a 23-year absence.
“No one really knows what type of racing to expect yet at Pocono,” Simon Pagenaud said. “It’s a beautiful, smooth track though and the fans seemed really excited about us coming back when we tested there earlier this year. Firestone has decided to bring a different tire to this race so we’ll have to be ready to adjust to that unknown factor as well.”
Tristan Vautier will be at a slightly higher advantage in Pocono than he is at other tracks because his veteran competitors are new to the tri-oval too. The rookie feels that he increased his comfort level on ovals at IndyCar’s most recent race at Iowa Speedway.
“I made a step forward on the oval at Iowa Speedway because I was able to run different lines and drive around other cars, so my comfort level was higher than at previous ovals,” Vautier said. “But Pocono will be much different because it’s faster and the corners are different, so what I learned in Iowa won’t necessarily apply directly. I’ll have plenty of new challenges to face in Pocono!”
Watch Tristan Vautier and Simon Pagenaud attempt to master the “Rule of Three” at Pocono Raceway’s 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” on July 6 for practice and qualifications and on July 7 for the Pocono INDYCAR 400. Tune in to ABC at 12 p.m. ET Sunday, July 7 for the green flag. For the latest team updates, follow @SPMIndyCar on Twitter.