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Run it back in reverse: Pocono starting order will feature inversion

AUTO: JUL 27 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series - Gander Outdoors 400

LONG POND, PA - JULY 27: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano of the #22 Team Penske Ford Mustang heads back to the garage during the practice session on July 27, 2019 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LONG POND, Pa. – NASCAR and Pocono Raceway unveiled details of the track’s inaugural doubleheader schedule next season, including an interesting wrinkle on how the final race of the weekend will begin.

Executive vice president of competition Scott Miller said the starting lineup for Sunday’s 350-mile Cup race will be an inversion of the lead-lap finishers in Saturday’s first Cup race (whose length is to be determined but likely in the 350-mile range).

“One of our prominent drivers was the original champion of that concept,” Miller said during a Saturday news conference at the track. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Hmm, I’m not sure everyone will buy into it.’ Actually, everybody did. It was pretty universally accepted as a cool way to go, and something we thought would put on a good show.”

Cup teams will use the same car for both races at the 2.5-mile speedway and will be allowed “general service” (i.e. changing valve springs, buffing out minor damage) to prepare for the second race.

Miller said teams would be allowed to go to a backup car if the damage is sufficient to be warranted. “We’re certainly going to be lenient in a situation like this and being as flexible as we can with the teams,” Miller said. “It’s not out of the question they could crash Saturday and bring a fully prepared car here Sunday morning. It would be a team by team basis of how they wanted to handle a crisis situation.”

Pocono will be the only doubleheader on the Cup schedule for next season, but Miller said if the idea is “a great success, I wouldn’t see any reason we wouldn’t expand the concept” to other tracks.

Here’s the weekend schedule for Pocono next year:

--Thursday, June 25: ARCA series race (80 laps, 200 miles).

--Friday, June 26: Practice and qualifying for Cup (Race I) and the Gander Outdoor Truck Series.

--Saturday, June 27: Xfinity practice, truck race (80 laps, 200 miles), Cup Race I (TBD distance but likely around 350 miles)

--Sunday, June 28: Xfinity qualifying, Xfinity race (90 laps, 225 miles), Cup Race II (140 laps, 350 miles)