NASCAR: Pocono race marks a Cup Series first in 41 years

Pocono, NASCAR (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/23XI Racing via Getty Images)
Pocono, NASCAR (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/23XI Racing via Getty Images) /

There is only one NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on the 2022 schedule, something that hasn’t been the case in over four decades.

The 21st race on the 36-race 2022 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400, is scheduled to take place this Sunday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.

But unlike past seasons, this 160-lap race around the three-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) track in Long Pond, Pennsylvania is the one and only race there this year.

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Not since the 1981 season has Pocono Raceway only hosted one Cup Series race in a year. It hosted one race per year from 1974, when it was first added to the schedule, until 1981. From 1982 to 2021, it hosted two races per season.

It was a move that many saw coming.

When it was announced in 2019 that the 2020 schedule would only have a single race weekend at the Tricky Triangle and that that race weekend would be a doubleheader weekend, all signs pointed to the track eventually losing its second race date altogether.

Even with the many schedule changes caused by COVID-19-related restrictions, Pocono Raceway kept its 2020 doubleheader as initially scheduled, and the doubleheader returned in 2021.

However, in 2022, Pocono Raceway has just one race date. Two similar streaks ended last year, one at Dover International Speedway (now Dover Motor Speedway) and one at Michigan International Speedway.

Prior to 2021, the four-turn, 1.0-mile (1.609-kilometer) high-banked oval in Dover, Delaware had held two races per year since 1971, and the four-turn, 2.0-mile (3.219-kilometer) oval in Brooklyn, Michigan had held two races per year since 1974.

Instead of a second race at Pocono Raceway, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway hosted its inaugural Cup Series race back in early June.

And beyond this weekend, there are even some doubts that Pocono Raceway will be on the schedule at all moving forward.

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Tune in to USA Network at 3:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, July 24 for the live broadcast of the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 from Pocono Raceway. Start a free trial of FuboTV now if you have yet to do so!