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The ABC Supply 500[1] is an IndyCar Series race held at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, located in the Pocono Mountains. The first Indy car race at Pocono was held in 1971. The race was sanctioned by USAC from 1971–1981, and then by CART from 1982–1989, and was known as the Pocono 500. The race was removed from the CART calendar following the 1989 running, due to poor track conditions, as well as poor revenue for the promoter.

ABC Supply 500
Pocono Raceway.svg
VenuePocono Raceway
First race1971
First ICS race2013
Distance500 mi (800 km)
Laps200
Previous namesSchaefer 500 (1971–1978)
Music 500 at Pocono presented
by Musicland/Sam Goody
(1979)
True Value 500 (1980)
Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500 (1981)
Domino's Pizza Pocono 500 (1982)
Domino's Pizza 500 (1983–1986)
Quaker State 500 (1987–1988)
Pocono 500 (1989)
Pocono IndyCar 400 Fueled by Sunoco (2013)
Pocono IndyCar 500 Fueled by Sunoco (2014)
Most wins (driver)A. J. Foyt (4)
Most wins (team)Team Penske (10)

After a 23-year hiatus, the event was successfully revived by the IndyCar Series in 2013. Following management changes at the facility, and after comprehensive safety improvements were completed at the track, the race was scheduled for Independence Day weekend. For 2013, the race was scheduled for 400 miles, and was part of the series' Triple Crown. For 2014, the race returned to its traditional 500-mile distance, and it is now scheduled in mid-to-late August.

The 2014 race, won by Juan Pablo Montoya, stands as the fastest 500-mile race in Indy car racing history.[2] At an average speed of 202.402 mph (325.734 km/h), it was the first 500-mile race to be completed in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Contents

Race historyEdit

USACEdit

The Pocono 500 began in 1971, as part of the USAC National Championship Trail. It was part of USAC's "triple crown", consisting of the Indianapolis 500, Pocono 500, and California 500. The race was popular, and the unique track layout was said to have been designed specifically with Champ/Indy cars in mind. USAC sanctioned the event through 1981. The 1981 race was controversial, as it occurred in the wake of the first USAC/CART "split." Most CART teams boycotted the event, and the track management ultimately sued for damages. USAC opened up the entry list to Silver Crown cars in order to fill out the grid, and it was run as a two-class race.

CARTEdit

 
Foyt racing at Pocono in 1984

After organizational changes following the first USAC/CART "split," the Pocono 500 switched to the CART series beginning in 1982. The lawsuit filed by track owner/promoter Dr. Joseph Mattioli was settled out of court, and the CART series would race at the track for at least the next five years.[3] The relationship between the two parties was tumultuous at times, but the event continued nevertheless through the decade of the 1980s. The race moved from June to August after the track added a second NASCAR Winston Cup Series race to their schedule. Moving to August allowed the race to be distanced from Indy, and was set two to three weeks after the Michigan 500, giving teams more preparation time between 500-mile races.

The increasingly rough condition of the course made the race demanding,[4] and sometimes led to high attrition and surprise winners. The unique characteristics of the course, as well as the bumpiness, kept speeds slightly down from those at Indianapolis and Michigan, but the race was still popular, and for a time, was well-attended. Several major crashes in the latter years injured several drivers, including Johnny Rutherford, Kevin Cogan, John Andretti, Arie Luyendyk, Michael Greenfield, and Mario Andretti. By the late 1980s, drivers had become increasingly vocal about their displeasure with the condition of the track, some even calling for the event to be dropped.[4]

Despite the ongoing squabbles between the series and the ownership, the race was the site of some memorable moments in Indy car history. It was the site of Rick Mears' first win after recovering from his devastating injuries suffered in 1984. It was also the first and only Indy car win for the Judd AV engine, which occurred in 1988.

Following the 1989 event, the track was officially deemed too rough and unsuitable for Indy cars. The circuit still had metal boilerplate retaining walls, lacked catch fencing around the entire perimeter, and lacked proper runoff areas. It was heavily criticized for its roughness, cracks, and frequent debris that would cause dangerous tire punctures.[5][6] Once, after Scott Pruett punctured seven tires during practice, car owner Steve Horne walked the track and returned with a handful of nails and other junk he had retrieved.[6] The Pocono 500 was removed from the schedule indefinitely, as neither track management nor series officials were interested in reviving the event.

Though the track safety conditions were the reasons stated by the sanctioning body,[7] track management also believed the event to be a money-loser for the facility.[8] Furthermore, according to CART medical director Dr. Steve Olvey, during the 1980s the track's medical facilities were grossly inadequate, with track owner Dr. Joe Mattioli himself listed as the "track doctor," despite his profession being dentistry.

IndyCarEdit

During both 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, heavy crashes on the Long Pond Straight sent circuit management to call for significant safety improvements to the track. SAFER barriers were added to inside walls, catch fencing was installed around the entire perimeter, paved runoff areas were built around the majority of the infield. The safety upgrades, as well as changes announced by the third-generation Igdalsky family (including repaving the circuit with new concrete pit stalls), led to discussions with IndyCar officials regarding the revival of the Pocono IndyCar race.

Speculation ran rampant in 2012 after the cancellation of the Indy Qingdao 600 that Pocono could have been used as a last-minute substitute. However, nothing materialized. On October 1, 2012, the track officially announced they would host the Pocono IndyCar 400 for the IndyCar Series on July 4 weekend starting in 2013. The change in race distance was requested by broadcaster ABC.[9]

For 2014, the race returned to its traditional 500 mile distance. The three 500 mile "triple crown" races (Indianapolis, Fontana, and Pocono) would also award drivers double points towards the championship.[10]

For 2015, the race secured the title sponsorship of ABC Supply Co., and was moved to its once familiar calendar slot in late-August. In the 2015 race, driver Justin Wilson was struck in the head by a piece of debris which had flown off of Sage Karam's crashed car. Wilson was airlifted to the hospital but died the next day from his injuries.

In the summer of 2016, the track signed a contract extension through 2018.

Past winnersEdit

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
USAC Championship Car
1971 July 3   Mark Donohue Penske Racing McLaren Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:36:22 138.649 Report
1972 July 29   Joe Leonard Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Parnelli Offy 200 500 (804.672) 154.781 Report
1973 July 1   A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises Coyote Foyt 200 500 (804.672) 3:26:58 144.948 Report
1974 June 30   Johnny Rutherford Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren Offy 200 500 (804.672) 3:11:27 156.701 Report
1975 June 29   A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises Coyote Foyt 170* 425 (683.971) 3:01:13 140.712 Report
1976 June 27   Al Unser Vel's Parnelli Jones Racing Parnelli Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:28:53 143.622 Report
1977 June 26   Tom Sneva Penske Racing McLaren Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:17:12 152.931 Report
1978 June 25   Al Unser Chaparral Cars Lola T500 Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:30:53 142.261 Report
1979 June 24   A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises Parnelli Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:42:14 134.995 Report
1980 June 22   Bobby Unser Penske Racing Penske Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:18:04 151.454 Report
1981–82 June 14,
1981
  A. J. Foyt A. J. Foyt Enterprises March Cosworth 122* 305 (490.849) 2:13:23 137.196 Report
CART PPG Indy Car World Series
1982 August 15   Rick Mears Penske Racing Penske Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:25:39 145.879 Report
1983 August 14   Teo Fabi Forsythe Racing March Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:42:28 134.852 Report
1984 August 19   Danny Sullivan Doug Shierson Racing Lola Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:38:29 137.303 Report
1985 August 18   Rick Mears Penske Racing March Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:17:47 151.676 Report
1986 August 17   Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Cosworth 200 500 (804.672) 3:17:13 152.106 Report
1987 August 16   Rick Mears Penske Racing March Chevrolet-Ilmor 200 500 (804.672) 3:11:50 156.373 Report
1988 August 21   Bobby Rahal Truesports Lola Judd 200 500 (804.672) 3:44:21 133.713 Report
1989 August 20   Danny Sullivan Penske Racing Penske Chevrolet-Ilmor 200 500 (804.672) 2:55:43 170.72 Report
1990

2012
Not held
IndyCar Series
2013 July 7   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12 Honda 160 400 (643.738) 2:04:26 192.864 Report
2014 July 6   Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara DW12 Chevrolet 200 500 (804.672) 2:28:13 202.402 Report
2015 August 23   Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12 Honda 200 500 (804.672) 3:25:08 146.245 Report
2016 August 22*   Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12 Chevrolet 200 500 (804.672) 2:46:29 180.198 Report
2017 August 20   Will Power Team Penske Dallara DW12 Chevrolet 200 500 (804.672) 2:43:17 183.737 Report
2018 August 19   Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12 Honda 200 500 (804.672) 2:36:49 191.304 Report
  • 1975 & 1981: Race shortened due to rain.
  • 2016: Race postponed from Sunday to Monday due to rain.

USAC Mini-Indy seriesEdit

Indy LightsEdit

Season Date Driver Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Laps Miles (km)
1986 August 16   Jeff Andretti March Buick 40 100 (160.934) 0:40:52 146.812
1987 August 16   Tommy Byrne March Buick 40 100 (160.934) 0:35:34 168.7
1988 August 20   Michael Greenfield March Buick 40 100 (160.934) 0:45:45 131.137
1989 August 20*   Tommy Byrne March Buick 28 70 (112.654) 0:34:17 122.512
1990

2012
Not held
2013 July 6   Carlos Muñoz Dallara Infiniti 40 100 (160.934) 0:32:47 182.948
2014 July 5   Gabby Chaves Dallara Infiniti 40 100 (160.934) 0:36:53 162.7
  • 1989: Race postponed due to rain.

Selected race summariesEdit

USAC Championship TrailEdit

  • 1971: Mark Donohue wins the inaugural USAC Pocono 500. NASCAR Grand National regulars Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough finish 28th and 32nd respectively.
  • 1972: The second annual Pocono 500 is scheduled for late June/early July, however, Hurricane Agnes sweeps through the eastern United States, and forces postponement. The race is rescheduled for July 29, as part of a USAC Indycar/USAC Stock Car 500-mile doubleheader weekend. Joe Leonard won the Schaefer 500 while Roger McCluskey drove a Plymouth Superbird to win the Pennsylvania 500 stock car race.
  • 1973: A. J. Foyt passes Roger McCluskey on the final lap to take the victory. McCluskey gambled with a half-lap lead and ran out of fuel on the Long Pond straight; while Foyt did a splash-and-go with four laps remaining.
  • 1976: Al Unser, Sr. drove to victory, the first for the turbochargered Cosworth engine.
  • 1978: Al Unser, Sr. won USAC's Triple Crown of 500-mile races (Indianapolis 500, Pocono 500, and California 500).
  • 1981: In the height of the USAC/CART split, A. J. Foyt wins the USAC Van Scoy Diamond Mines 500. This is the final Indy car race USAC sanctioned at Pocono and Foyt's final Indy car win. Many CART regulars boycotted the race, therefore, USAC opened the field to both Gold Crown cars and Silver Crown cars. A rag-tag field of Indy cars and converted dirt-track cars ran a two-class race. Rain halted the race shortly after the halfway point, and ended the race early.[11]

CART PPG Indy Car World SeriesEdit

 
1988 Pocono 500 winning car driven by Bobby Rahal.
  • 1982: Initially the Pocono 500 was not on the schedule for 1982.[12] Track management had sued CART for damages after they boycotted the 1981 race. But by the following spring, the issued had cleared up, and the race was added back to the schedule in early May.[13] On race day, Rick Mears dominated, leading 146 of the 200 laps. Gordon Johncock, the winner at Indianapolis and Michigan, was looking to sweep the Indy car "triple crown", but his gearbox failed while running second on lap 193. The only major incident of the day involved Johnny Rutherford. His car blew a right rear tire, and he crashed in turn one. The car became airborne, and almost left the track. The broken car landed back on the track, and Rutherford suffered a broken hand.[14]
  • 1983: Rookies Teo Fabi and Al Unser, Jr. combined to lead 143 of the 200 laps, and emerged as the only two contenders late in the race. During his final pit stop on lap 178, Unser, Jr. nearly stalled, and handling problems slowed his pace. Fabi, who raised eyebrows by winning the pole at Indy, cruised to victory.
  • 1984: An exciting three-car battle to the finish between Rick Mears, Bobby Rahal, and Danny Sullivan. With the three cars running nose-to-tail on lap 194, Rahal passed Mears going into turn one to take the lead. Down the Long Pond straight, Sullivan slips by Mears as well, and set his sights on Rahal. In turn two, Sullivan passes Rahal with ease, and pulls out to a sizable lead. Heavy traffic on the final lap allowed Mears to close up, but Sullivan held off the challenge at the checked flag to win. Rahal finished third, blowing his engine as he crossed the finish line.
  • 1985: Rick Mears completes a comeback from his devastating leg injuries suffered at Sanair in 1984 by winning the Pocono 500 in a part-time entry for Penske Racing.
  • 1986: Mario Andretti and Bobby Rahal battled for the lead in the late stages of the race. On lap 174, Rahal suddenly pulled to the inside with an engine fire, leaving Andretti all alone in the lead. Andretti cruised over the final 26 laps, beating second place Kevin Cogan by over a lap.
  • 1987: Mario Andretti led 22 laps, but gets too low in turn one on lap 89, and crashed hard into the outside wall. He suffers a separated shoulder. The rough apron of turn one was stained by lime, which caused Andretti's car to lose traction[15] Rick Mears wins, and Geoff Brabham finished second, the best finish yet for the new Brabham-Honda/Judd engine.
  • 1988: The race was slowed 11 times for 65 laps, including six wrecks. Rookie John Andretti suffered a serious wreck with 18 laps to go near the pit exit. Most of the contenders dropped out, leaving Bobby Rahal in the lead for the final 28 laps. Rahal scored Judd's first and only Indy car victory, and it was Rahal's last win with Truesports.
  • 1989: Emerson Fittipaldi sets a new all-time track record during qualifying, with a pole speed of 211.715 mph. Danny Sullivan holds off his Penske teammate Rick Mears to win the final CART series race at Pocono. It was Sullivan's first victory since breaking his arm in a practice crash earlier in the season at Indianapolis. Track owner Joe Mattioli vowed that single-seater racing would never return to his circuit, a vow that ended after his death in 2012.

IndyCar SeriesEdit

  • 2013: The Igdalsky family, third-generation family members who took over the circuit after Joe Mattioli's death, visit an IZOD IndyCar Series race in 2012, and by the end of the season announced a revival of the race, with a distance scheduled as 400 miles. Pennsylvania native Chip Ganassi's team, Chip Ganassi Racing, sweeps the podium with Scott Dixon winning, Charlie Kimball second, and Dario Franchitti third. The average speed of 192.864 mph is a Pocono Raceway record, slowed by only two brief caution periods.
  • 2014: Juan Pablo Montoya won the fastest 500 mile race in Indycar history. At an average speed of 202.402 mph, it was the first 500 mile race to average over 200 mph, and was slowed by only one caution for six laps. Montoya's victory capped off his return to the American open wheel circuit after spending the previous 13 season in Formula One and NASCAR.
  • 2015: Ryan Hunter-Reay wins the race. On lap 179, Sage Karam spun and a piece of debris from his car struck Justin Wilson on the head, knocking Wilson unconscious and sending him into the wall. Wilson was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, where he succumbed to his injuries the following day.[16][17][18]
  • 2016: Rain postponed the race from Sunday until Monday. Pole sitter Mikhail Aleshin led 87 laps. With 35 laps to go Will Power took the lead, and shortly after, a late caution came out for debris. The green flag came out with 22 laps to go, with Power and Aleshin battling nose-to-tail to the finish. Ryan Hunter-Reay started last due to a practice crash, but managed to lead 31 laps. With Power and Aleshin finishing 1-2, Hunter-Reay, who pitted for tires under the yellow, dramatically charged through the field to finish third.
  • 2017: Will Power fell a lap down after he was forced to pit to replace a broken nose cone on lap 65. Later in the race, he suffered a damaged rear wing assembly after being hit by Charlie Kimball. Power worked his way back to the lead lap, and through an out-of-sequence pit strategy took the lead on lap 154. Power had built such a large lead by lap 161 that he was able to pit without losing the lead. In the final nine laps, Power held off the furious challenge of Josef Newgarden, and became the first ever back-to-back winner of the Pocono 500.
  • 2018: Alexander Rossi dominated and won the race. On lap 7, Robert Wickens and Ryan Hunter-Reay made contact in turn 2, which sent Wickens' car into the catchfence and caused a multicar wreck which also involved James Hinchcliffe, Takuma Sato and Pietro Fittipaldi. The race was red-flagged for two hours to repair the catchfence while Wickens was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital with injuries to his legs, spine and right arm in addition to pulmonary contusion.[19][20] Wickens would later reveal that the crash left him paralyzed from the waist down.[21]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "ABC Supply To Sponsor August INDYCAR Race at Pocono – ABC Supply 500". PoconoRaceway.com. April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  2. ^ Estrada, Chris (July 6, 2014). "Today's race at Pocono was fastest 500-miler in IndyCar history". NBC Sports. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Miller, Robin (August 17, 1986). "Today's Indy-car race could be the last one at Pocono". The Indianapolis Star. p. 81. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  4. ^ a b Shaffer, Rick (August 23, 1988). "Pocono gets a bumpy response from drivers seeking smooth ride". The Indianapolis Star. p. 33. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  5. ^ Shaffer, Rick (August 19, 1988). "Mario, Daly post top Pocono 500 practice times". The Indianapolis Star. p. 29. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  6. ^ a b Shaffer, Rick (August 20, 1989). "Pocono should be fixed or forgotten". The Indianapolis Star. p. 23. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  7. ^ Burkhart, Nancy (September 15, 1989). "CART confirms Denver is in, Pocono out". The Indianapolis Star. p. 31. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  8. ^ Shaffer, Rick (September 17, 1989). "CART, Pocono; a bitter divorce". The Indianapolis Star. p. 31. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  9. ^ ABC only wanted 400 miles of IndyCar at Pocono Keith Groller, The Morning Call, October 02, 2012
  10. ^ Series makes changes to 2014 points system Crash.net, March 21, 2014.
  11. ^ 1981 Pocono 500 Photo Page
  12. ^ Miller, Robin (November 22, 1981). "'82 CART schedule a big one". The Indianapolis Star. p. 84. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  13. ^ "CART gets 500 at Pocono". The Indianapolis Star. May 2, 1982. p. 59. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  14. ^ Overpeck, Dave (August 16, 1982). "Mears flies by Pocono field". The Indianapolis Star. p. 20. Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. 
  15. ^ Bob Kourtakis (August 17, 1987). "Andrettis Glad This Race Day Is History Pocono Quaker State 500". The Morning Call. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  16. ^ "Justin Wilson airlifted to hospital during Pocono race". ESPN. August 23, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  17. ^ Olson, Jeff (August 23, 2015). "IndyCar driver Justin Wilson in a coma after Pocono crash". USA Today. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  18. ^ "IndyCar Driver Justin Wilson Has Died of a Head Injury". ABC News. August 24, 2015. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  19. ^ "Robert Wickens after massive IndyCar crash at Pocono". Toronto Star. Torstar. August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  20. ^ "Leg, arm injuries for Robert Wickens following horrific IndyCar crash". Guelph Today. August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  21. ^ "IndyCar driver Wickens reveals crash left him a paraplegic". Associated Press. October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2018.


Preceded by
Honda Indy 200
IndyCar Series
ABC Supply 500
Succeeded by
Bommarito Automotive Group 500