LONG POND, PA. — Despite Mother Nature’s intrusion on the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ inaugural event at Pocono Raceway, series director Wayne Auton was pleased with the race.
The Pocono Green 250 was declared official after 53 of the 100 scheduled laps were completed, and Kyle Larson won after officials decided that track-drying efforts would prove to be impossible.
“It was exciting to be here. I just wish the weather would have stayed away so we could get the whole race in,” Auton told POPULAR SPEED. “There were a lot of fans here to watch our first race and the drivers loved it.”
Auton thought the quality of the competition was as good as it has been all season. There were six lead changes among five drivers, which isn’t bad, considering Pocono is a track with few racing grooves, and that the race ended three laps past halfway.
“We had a lot of passing happening,” Auton said. “The gears were high enough so [drivers] didn’t have to shift, which is something that the Cup cars will have to do tomorrow.”
Auton appreciated the support of Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono Raceway, who supported bringing the series to the track. Before 2013, when Auton was the director of the Camping World Truck Series, he remembers his attempts to persuade Igdalsky to bring XFINITY races to the track.
“I kept aggravating him and asking when he will get us there,” Auton said. “Last winter, he called me and said that we’re coming to Pocono. I was excited because I just love it up here, and the fans are great. It’s an awesome facility.”
Auton said his goal was to delight fans and drivers with a new venue in the schedule. He feels he accomplished the achievement with the help of Igdalsky and it would have been better had it not been for the rain.
“I have heard nothing but praise for what Brandon Igdalsky has done for Pocono,” Auton said. “The fans were great, and the track was great.”