POCONO NOTES The name game
bob ford/times news Jimmie Johnson has a busy weekend on tap.
LONG POND - Over the last 26 years, the NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway have carried different names as well as sponsors.
The first Cup Series race held back on August 4, 1974 was known as the Purolater 500. Three years later, it was called the Coca Cola 500. Four years later, it was the Mountain Dew 500.
It was back in 1982 that a second Cup Series race in Long Pond was added to the season series and the name game began once again. At that time, the two races were known as the Van Scoy 500 and the Mountain Dew 500.
Since then, between the two events, they have changed names a total of nine times over the next 20-some years.
Two years ago, everyone knew the last race of the NASCAR Cup Series season on the 2.5 mile tri-oval as the Pennsylvania 500. That was before it was renamed the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500.
Now, come Sunday, the first race of the season at the "Tricky Triangle" will be no longer known as the Pocono 500. It will now referred as the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500.
FROM HERE TO THERE ….. After taking part in a busy qualifying day yesterday afternoon, Jimmie Johnson will serve double duty this weekend taking in part in two separate races.
On Saturday, Johnson will fly to New York to make his second start in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. There Johnson will co-drive with defending and two-time Daytona Prortype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the SAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley at Watkins Glen International, which is the second-longest race on the Rolex Series schedule.
While Johnson has already compiled three top-five finishes in the NASCAR Spring Cup Series at The Glen, this will be Johnson's first hack at the traditional 3.4 mile circuit familiar to many top international drivers.
Prior to this event, Johnson has co-driven the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley at the opening season Rolex 24 at Daytona the last three years. He finished second overall with Gurney, Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser in their debut together two years ago. Johnson has seven career starts in the Rolex Series, in which all have come at Daytona International Speedway.
Then, come 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, Johnson will make sure he'll be back in plenty time to relax before making his 16th start of his career in his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet in Long Pond.
NEVER TOO OLD TO RACE ..... Geoff Bodine, trying to be the oldest driver to win a Sprint Cup Race at 61, qualified 40th in the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolt during the Weis Market Qualifying run yesterday. His last Cup race was in 2005 and has not won since 1989. Bodine won the June race at Pocono in 1988. Bodine is second all-time in laps led at Pocono Racway with 809, in which he led 24 races totals. Gordon is first with 879 laps.
END OF THE RAINBOW ..... Jeff Gordon is the active win leader at Pocono with four and has won more money than anyone else in raceway history with just over $3.4 million.