Another boring race dominated by Kyle Busch. Congratulations to him for both winning his fourth race of the season and winning in a points race at every track on the NASCAR circuit. Both are great feats to accomplish for any driver. Kyle was never seriously challenged at any point of the race and won by almost four seconds over second place Martin Truex Jr., but that was only because he was coasting and just trying to stay out of trouble. When the race ended there were only nine cars on the lead lap.
This week the drivers head to the Pocono Raceway for the running of the Pocono 400. To me this is usually a boring race, but we will have to wait and see. Pocono creates a challenge for all drivers and crew chiefs alike because of its three turns that are all configured differently. It isn’t nicknamed the tricky triangle for nothing. The team that can setup their car with the right balance to make it through all three turns the best will come out on top here. One other thing to note. This race is in the Pocono Mountains and it has been known to rain here quite often. That can cancel qualifying and practice sessions and delay the race. I really wish they only ran here once during the year.
Brad Keselowski: I think we might see a different winner once again this weekend other than those two drivers that have been dominating the season and that driver is Brad Keselowski. Brad has finished in the top five here in eight of his sixteen starts. Those are Mark Martin types on numbers with the only difference being Brad has a win here, something Mark never accomplished although he finished second way too many times to count. Brad comes away with his second victory at this track this weekend.
Kurt Busch: I think this is the type of track Kurt will really run well on and could pick up his first victory of the season if he can beat out Brad. Kurt has always run well on these flatter tracks during his career. He has three wins and fourteen top five finishes in thirty-three starts at Pocono and will be a serious threat to Brad this weekend.
Kevin Harvick: We all know what Kevin has done this year and he will be looking to come back from a blown tire that took him out of the race last week at Charlotte. At the time he blew his tire he was in fourth place coming from the back of the pack where he had to start because he failed inspection and didn’t get to qualify. Kevin is looking for his first win at this track and has finished in the top five here in three of his last four starts. The way he has been running all season he will be a serious contender once again this weekend.
Denny Hamlin: Denny leads all active drivers with four wins at Pocono. He has also finished in the top five ten times and the top ten fifteen times in his twenty-four starts there. This team has been pretty good so far this season, but isn’t quite to the level of teammate, Kyle Busch, at this point of the season. This is more of the track type where Denny excels and I look for him to do well this weekend.
Kyle Busch: Kyle sat on the pole for both of the Pocono races last year and picked up his first win at this track in the July race last season. He and Harvick have been the class of the field each and every week this year and I look for that trend to continue where they will both be in contention late in the race with a few of the other drivers already mentioned above.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has been improving every week and one of these week’s they will find themselves back in victory lane. He has won three times at Pocono and has finished in the top five eleven times and the top ten nineteen times in his thirty-two starts. One thing to consider here is Jimmie’s last two season’s here where he has finished thirty-fifth or worse in three of those four starts.
Ryan Blaney: Ryan won this race last year for his first Cup victory and has looked even faster this year after moving to Penske from the Wood Brothers. He only has four starts at this track in the Cup series with three of those finishes being eleventh or better. Even in the July race last year where he finished thirtieth he qualified fifth. That tells me he had a fast car that weekend also.
Chase Elliott: Chase is another driver with only three starts at Pocono in the Cup series and he has come away with three top ten finishes in those races. This team was the best of all the Hendrick cars early this season, but they seem to have dropped off a bit lately. Now that Jimmie Johnson is running better the whole organization should benefit and be able to use data from both teams to make them all faster.
Erik Jones: In his only two starts at this track, both coming last season, Erik has two top ten finishes with a third and an eighth. He also led laps in both of those races last year. He had a fast car at Charlotte last week, but the team took themselves out of contention with some pit road miscues. This team is on the verge of getting their first Cup win and it could come this weekend.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has run pretty well here during his short career. In his eight starts here he has finished in the top ten four times and has led laps in races five times. This is a dirt track racers type of track where they can let the back end hang out a little bit and that comes in handy on at least one of the three turns a drivers car isn’t quite setup for. Kyle could be a sleeper this weekend.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR POCONO RACEWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Kyle Busch
Driver Group Game Group B
- Kurt Busch
- Erik Jones
- Ryan Blaney
- Chase Elliott
Driver Group Game Group C
- Chris Buescher
- Michael McDowell
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT POCONO RACEWAY
- Brad Keselowski
- Kurt Busch
- Kyle Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Denny Hamlin
Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez
Stay Away From: Aric Almirola
Big 18: Kurt Busch