POCONO RACEWAY -- A contest is underway to rename the Pocono 400 NASCAR race. Pocono Raceway has teamed up with Walmart in what they're calling the "Fan Driven 400." Fans will actually choose the name of the NASCAR race at Pocono in June.
For decades it was the Pocono 500. Last year it got a number change, down to the Pocono 400. Over the years, there were a few corporate names mixed in. Who can forget the Gillette Fusion Proglide 500 presented by Target?
But now the name of the June NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway is up to you.
"We've been talking about 'the fans, the fans, the fans' and this is just our next level in giving back to the fans and let them be involved in what we're doing at Pocono Raceway,” said raceway president Brandon Igdalsky.
Igdalsky says the track teamed up with Walmart to have fans submit names for the race. That was underway the past 10 days or so. Now, the raceway will choose three of those for fans to vote on. Between March 11 and April 8, people can cast their vote online.
Newswatch 16 asked people on Facebook for some ideas for what to call the race. Some want a tribute to track founder Joseph "Doc" Mattioli like the DOC 400 or Mattioli 400.
Others had some fun with it, suggesting a tribute to the area's former business heritage, The Coal Cracker 400. And the new business around here, The Freakin' Frackin 400.
How about the traditions? The Pennsylvania Polka 400.
Or the language? The Heyna Or No 400.
We got some negative ones, too. The NAPCAR 400, The Fall Asleep While Watching 400, or the Rain Delay 400 for a race that often has weather woes.
"Why not 'Change the Date', that's what they should call it," said one fan in the Poconos.
"Maybe something of that nature. Every year they have it at that time and it rains."
“The Pocono 500 like it is, no change,” offered another. Some on facebook agreed.
Not only can fans help name the "Whatever you want to call it 400" but at the track this June, Walmart is offering 16,000 $25 concourse tickets, just part of the fan-friendly experience.
"So get those before they sell out. Take advantage of those. It's great deal for everybody," said Igdalsky.
He said fans will also get to choose the official concession item of the summer. He says in this part of Pennsylvania, that has to be some type of pierogie. Voting for that will be online Apirl 8 through May 6.
Then fans will have a choice of voting on one of three designs for the Pace Car. That online voting will be May 6 through May 27.
It's all part of the "Fan Driven" theme of the yet-to-be-named June race.
As for that race name, Igdalsky said the person who came up with the winner will be invited to the race in June and get some kind of special treatment. Igdalsky wouldn't say what. He said this "Fan Driven" promotion is like pealing open an onion, more will be revealed as we get closer to the race.
He said those who run the raceway like to have fun on the job and now they're including the fans in some of that.
You can vote for the finalists soon and learn more about the voting by clicking here.