The turn is the hard part

Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M/Rite Aid/NextCare Ford and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Kobalt Tools Chevrolet drive during testing for the new track surface at Pocono Raceway on June 7, 2012 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)

LONG POND, Pa. — AJ Allmendinger, who had the fastest lap in the Thursday morning session (177.190 mph) at Pocono, said the average speed didn’t hold a candle to the pace entering Turn 1.

“I think on data it’s 211 (mph),” Allmendinger said. “The speed’s easy down the straightaway. The problem is you’ve got to turn at the end.”

And the problem with turning is that, for now, Pocono is a one-groove racetrack. Over the course of the weekend, drivers expect it to widen out as the new asphalt takes on more rubber. That should make both lanes viable for restarts during the race.

“At Phoenix last year, we all thought the same thing when it got repaved, that starting on the outside was going to be brutal, and you’re just going to be hung out to dry,” Allmendinger said. “By the end of the race, you could argue that being on the outside of every row was actually a little bit better, because you get a run off the corner.

“The track will eventually widen out, because we’ll have to restart the race double-file; we’ll have to start the race double-file; you’ll have an ARCA race (Saturday) that will have to start double-file. So the track will widen out. It’s just not going to do it until people start racing.”

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