Pocono is an abbreviation for Pennsylvania Dutch country. The name is probably most well known for the racetrack near Reading, PA. It is also the location of the Pocono Music Festival every summer. The track is built on land that used to be part of the Pocono Pines Forest. The track’s surface is the same as that of the infield of the famous Brickyard racetrack – a blend of asphalt and clay that the drivers and fans call “Tarmac.”
It is one of the biggest tracks in the area, which is quite an accomplishment, considering that it opened just 60 years ago. It held a total of five different races through the 2018 season, including the Pennsylvania Grand Prix and the IndyCar Festival. The track has a seating capacity of 20,000 spectators, and it is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project.
What Is The Size Of The Entire Track?
If you were to walk around the entire track, you would probably feel a little bit like a human compass. The track is incredibly large, totaling 1.9 miles in length. On an incline, it would take you 20 minutes to walk the whole thing. If you were to run there, an entire mile would take you 15 minutes, depending on how fast you are. You would need a couple of days to see all of the turns.
The track extends in a large circle around a central stadium. The infield, which is located between the turns, is where most of the action is. The grandstands are located on the inside, and halfway between the grandstands is the paddock. You can’t really miss it. There are also walkways that lead over to the other side of the track. It is a rather unique venue, and it has become a popular family destination. Children can get their bikes fixed at the onsite bike shop or take a spin on the carousel. The whole place is a fun-filled day for all ages. This is one of the largest tracks in the country, and it is definitely one of the most historic as well. It holds the distinction of being the first ever purpose-built sports car racetrack. The cars of the day are the epitome of American design and engineering.
Are There Any Other Famous Tracks Like This?
The only other track that comes close in size is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is 1.7 miles long. One of the most prestigious motorsport venues in the world, it holds the record as the largest single-stage race in the world, with a total of 500,000 people attending the annual festival. It is also the site of the renowned Brickyard race, one of the country’s most historic sporting events. It’s rather ironic that two competing tracks share the same name, considering that their sizes are nearly identical.
There are also other, smaller speedways across the country, but none of them hold the same significance as Pocono. The reason behind this is that most of these tracks were actually built for speed, and they have not aged well. They are mainly used for school competitions and community races rather than world-class racing.
How Has The Track’s Renovation Project Aged?
The renovation of the track has been going on for close to five years now, and it is still not over. This is mainly because of the financial woes that the area and the country at large have been going through. The cost of living has increased dramatically, and a huge percentage of the population does not have steady employment. It is therefore not surprising that some people have chosen to stay at home and save their money. Even the people who can afford to go out and about more often than not choose to stay indoors, especially at night.
The renovations will continue through the next couple of years. They will focus on expanding the seating capacity, adding more turnstiles and gates, and increasing safety measures. Some of the biggest changes that have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented include:
- A four-star hotel on-site (the grand opening is scheduled for summer 2022)
- An ice cream parlor, called Sweet Georgia Ice Cream Co., which will be located at the entryway to the track (opening for the 2020 season)
- A food truck park, called The Great Plains Food Truck Park (formerly known as the Speedy Snaxxxi Food Truck Park), adjacent to the track (opens for the summer of 2021)
- An outdoor concert venue and a museum exhibit with artifacts from the golden era of auto racing (scheduled to open in the summer of 2021)
- An expanded Kids’ Zone, featuring inflatable rides and other attractions (scheduled to open in the summer of 2022)
- A covered walkway that will connect the main track to the seating bowl and the parking lot (opens for the summer of 2022)
- A re-enlivened grandstands (scheduled to open for the 2022 season)
- An enhanced media center (scheduled to open for the 2021 season)
- An upgraded electrical system (scheduled to open for the 2022 season)
There is still a long way to go before the track is back to its original glory. The renovations have definitely not been a waste of time, and they have definitely not been a total loss. The track attracts people from across the country and around the world. It is therefore a credit to the people of the area and the country that they have not given up on trying to make things better. The track’s future looks very promising as long as the economy continues to improve and the area’s job market remains steady. Let’s hope that the track does not get too big for its britches, as that would make it very difficult for everyone, including the employees, to breathe. With time and the right investment, the track can be brought back to its former glory. Then, and only then, will we truly be able to say that Pocono is back, rebuilt, and better than ever.