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10 Memorable NASCAR Moments at Pocono Raceway


10. 1982: The Intimidator Upended

Before soft walls and seats situated in the middle of the car, stock cars actually looked like stock cars. They crashed like them too. In 1982, Dale Earnhardt and Tim Richmond got together in Turn 1 and all hell broke loose. Earnhardt would end up with a broken kneecap, while Richmond helped him down across the track. Wonder if Ryan Newman and David Gilliland would have done the same last week at Dover?

by Vito Pugliese

9. 1998: DW Nearly Wins No. 85

Despite three Winston Cup titles, 84 career wins and a Daytona 500, Darrell Waltrip is known to most fans as the guy yelling “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity” every week and who’s last years behind the wheel as Jimmy Spencer’s teammate were less than impressive. Running his own team beginning in 1991, things took a downturn as technology and the sport outgrew his operation. Forced to sell his team, he ended up getting a call from former rival Dale Earnhardt in 1998 to sub for an injured Steve Park. It didn’t take long for him to get the new team up to speed, and ol’ DW nearly won Pocono in 1998, dueling with another Owensboro, Ky., native for the win. Check out his glassy-eyed interview at around the 10:00 minute mark. The Boogity schtick might be getting a little old, but you gotta love Darrell’s passion.

by Vito Pugliese

8. 2002: DEI's Wild Ride

Dale Earnhardt, Inc. was in turmoil after the passing of its founder in 2001. In September of that year, Steve Park was critically injured at a Busch race in Darlington when his steering wheel came off under caution and he was t-boned by another driver catching up to the field. His first race back at Pocono didn’t last long — or go very well. Check out this harrowing moment between the two teammates and how close they come to knocking over the camera scaffolding. Dale Earnhardt Jr. running to his teammate’s aid paints one of the most indelible images of his career.

by Vito Pugliese

7. 2011: The Un-Rivalry

You might beat Kurt Busch on the track with a better car, but you’ll never beat him in a war of words or witty remarks … well, actually you can. Anywat, this back and forth between Busch and Jimmie Johnson at the end of the race at Pocono, and then the week following at Watkins Glen, was one of the highlights of the 2011 season. While Busch ultimately had a few more run-ins with the media later in the year (and the First Lady’s Secret Service Suburbans), it was yet another vignette for the wild world that is Planet Kurt.

by Vito Pugliese

6. 2003: Turn 1 = No Fun

Race cars never crash at the slow part of the track. They do so at the fastest, and inevitably into unprotected walls at obtuse angles — and oftentimes with full loads of fuel. Dale Jarrett found that out the hard way just after a pit stop in 2003, when his Taurus took off entering Turn 1 at nearly 200 mph with a full 22 gallon fuel cell. SAFER Barriers, new car designs, fuel cell improvements and eight gallons less fuel to burn have all contributed to help stop these sorts of accidents from getting out of hand.

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by Vito Pugliese

5. 2000: Jeremy Mayfield is No. 1

Dale Earnhardt was famous for rattling cages … and for letting you know who was number one. Check out this last lap battle between Jeremy Mayfield and Earnhardt at Pocono in 2000. Not many were able to see this live as it is was a rain-delayed race run on Monday. Sad to see how quickly Mayfield fell in just a few short years and how it would be less than a year until we would lose Earnhardt.

by Vito Pugliese

4. 1991: Swervin' Irvan's Track Blacker

Ever wonder how Ernie Irvan earned the name Swervin’ Irvan? It was incidents during the 1991 season such as this one at Pocono, where he sends Hut Stricklin spinning in front of the field, and launches Richard Petty — who was having a pretty stout weekend — skyward. Save the Gen-6 brand identity spiel and check out those T-birds, Regals, Grand Prixs and Luminas looking every bit as street worthy as their counterparts today.

by Vito Pugliese

3. 2010: Kasey Gets Kahne'd

As Kurt Busch says, it’s a free for all on the last lap, and this incident on the final lap of the 2010 Pocono 500 was no exception. The action starts at 1:35, when Kasey Kahne is blocked and shoved to the grass by AJ Allmendinger — and after earlier showers, said grass was slick as ice. Kahne then spins back across the track and into the path of Mark Martin and Greg Biffle and is nearly ejected from the facility. Check out the impact at 3:15, as the No. 5 hits the No. 9 and how quickly he’s stopped. Say what you will about the CoT; it was a life saver.

by Vito Pugliese

2. 2003: Schrader's Crash & Burn

You may notice a common thread with many of these incidents, and it’s an unprotected Turn 1 wall with 200 mph corner entry speeds. There are two things a driver fears most in a race car: abrupt driver-side impact and fire. Ken Schrader experienced both at Pocono in 2003. His post wreck comments are about what you’d expect from Schrader; dead pan humor and his no-big-deal delivery.

by Vito Pugliese

1. 1992: Davey vs. Darrell

Those new NASCAR commercials touting rivalries would be well suited to revisit the rift between Darrell Waltrip and Davey Allison from 1991-92. Davey often got the worst end of it with broken ribs at Bristol, and then this horrific crash at Pocono in ’92. How bad was it? Allison’s crew chief Larry McReynolds recalled how he was scanning radio traffic to check on Davey’s condition, when he heard Mark Martin say, “they better just get a body bag for Davey….” Check out how close the No. 28 comes to breaching the guardrail and taking out the safety trucks, flinging parts for a quarter mile.

by Vito Pugliese