Matt DiBenedetto talks about racing at Pocono

Matt DiBenedetto: “Pocono used to drive more like a short track and road course in my opinion and that’s how I used to approach it.  We used to bring short track style cars there because the corners are all different but Turn 3 is kind of flat and it drives like a short track corner to me.  Turn 3 is just a flatter corner of the three turns and we used to be out of the gas and downshifting there, so it felt like a blend of what you had to do on a road course and a short track.  Now it’s not going to be like that at all anymore and I think it’s going to be the complete opposite of that.  I think with this new package, Pocono will have us in the gas the whole time and it will be very similar to a speedway, which is the polar opposite of what it was before.  I’m honestly not sure what to anticipate this weekend since Pocono is always its own animal.  I’m running a slower steering box now than I used to, which is a speedway-type quality.  I think that restarts were already crazy at Pocono and we were already four and five-wide there in the past, but this year, restarts are notoriously way more wild because they’re the time when you have a chance to make up positions since it’s tough to pass once we get single-file.  I think restarts could maybe even be seven or eight-wide now at Pocono possibly.  The most important part of the racing this weekend will be restarts because you need to be aggressive, but not crashing since people will be going wild.  The straightaway will take us longer to get up to speed now with less horsepower, so I’m not sure that the frontstretch will be a place to pass like it may have been in the past.  Turn 3 is a really aero-dependent corner, and before you could get up to people’s bumpers to scoot them up the track a little bit and be able to set yourself up to pass them off the corner to then race them down the straightaway.  With things this year, you’re going to get aero-tight and I don’t think you’re going to be able to get close to anyone in that corner anymore.  We’re going to need to set-up where we pass differently now, and this weekend will be finding out where it’s best to do that.  Turn 3 will still be the main corner that we focus on because you need to make sure that your car can rotate through there and carry your momentum off that turn for your single-car speed.  If you lose any momentum now, it could take you almost a lap to recover.”


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