The first details for the NASCAR Cup Series double-header at Pocono Raceway in 2020 were announced Saturday afternoon.
The weekend schedule will feature ARCA, the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Xfinity Series, as well as two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. The action starts on Thursday when ARCA will have the track to themselves, capped off by the 80-lap, 200-mile race.
On track Friday will be NASCAR Cup Series practice, Truck practice and qualifying, and Cup Series single-car qualifying.
Saturday will feature Xfinity Series practice, a 200-mile Truck race, and the first Cup Series race. The length of the Cup race is still to be determined but is expected to be around 350 miles.
Sunday will consist of Xfinity Series qualifying and then a 90-lap, 225-mile race, followed by the second NASCAR Cup Series race. The length of the Cup race for Sunday has been confirmed at 140 laps/350 miles.
NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller revealed teams would use the same car for both Cup Series races that weekend. The cars will be impounded after qualifying on Friday ahead of the first race.
“After that, we will give the competitors back their cars, and they can do all of their maintenance,” he said. “They can’t really run the 700 miles without having their cars back for just general service and all that. They will likely change valve springs and work on any slight damage or whatever from the race, do all the maintenance to prepare for the 350-mile Race 2.”
The starting line-up for the Sunday race will be determined through an inversion. Drivers who finished on the lead lap in the Saturday race will be inverted. Lapped cars will start behind those drivers.
“One of our prominent drivers was kind of the original champion of that concept, and we kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Hm, I’m not sure everybody will buy into that,’ and actually everybody did,” said Miller. “It was pretty universally accepted as a cool way to go and something we thought would put on a good show.”
Other details include:
• Teams asked NASCAR officials to use the same car through the weekend, and the policy of going to a backup will not be different than what’s already in place. Miller said NASCAR would be lenient and flexible with teams who may need a third car (if something happens like Alex Bowman had happened last weekend in New Hampshire), but it would be a team-by-team basis of how they handle such a situation.
• While Pocono has a general idea of the timing for the 2020 events, no details will be provided until it’s finalized.
• Pocono will increase its camping spots in Turn 1 to accommodate a larger crowd but does not anticipate needing any significant infrastructure changes.
• Contingency plans have yet to be determined regarding rescheduling any events that are affected by weather
• There will only be one ARCA race at Pocono in 2020 as the series loses a date because of NASCAR only visiting the track once.
• Pit selection for the Cup Series will be done based off qualifying and remain the same for the second race
• While noting details around usage of engines, transmission, and other areas of the cars have not been finalized yet, Miller said teams could elect to change engines for the second race but he anticipates with the sealed engine rule that the same one would be run.