The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway's 2.5 mile triangle for the 21st race of the 2013season, the GoBowling.com 400. Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and talked to NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, August 4, 2013; 1:19 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 72; wind out of the NW at 9 mph. There is a ZERO chance of precipitation.
The Track: Pocono Raceway
Pocono Raceway is a 2.5 mile tri-oval with three completely different banked turns. It has 14 degree banking in turn one, eight degree banking in turn two, and six degree banking in turn three.
Key to Race: THE POCONO TOUGH TRIANGLE
Pocono has three long straight-aways after each of the turns. This unique configuration forces engines to run at high RPM levels three times on each lap. The race places a premium on brakes and engine durability. Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon (thrice), Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin (four times) have won the last 14 races at Pocono. All nine of these drivers, except Kurt Busch, are great picks.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished 15th or better in 20 of his 212 career starts at Pocono, including a win earlier this year. Like a broken record he is our favorite to win again.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been awesome at Pocono during in his career. In 13 starts he has four wins.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Stewart won June 2009 race at Pocono and has finished in the top 10 in 14 of the last 65 races at the track. Smoke will be flying again this weekend.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman has finished in the top 18 in 14 of the past 15 races at Pocono. He will compete for the pole this weekend and could crack the top five.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior finished third at Pocono earlier this year and will be fast again this trip to the track.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has six career victories at Pocono. He will be battling for the lead all day.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer won the fall race at Pocono in 2011 and has finished in the top 16 in 12 of the last 13 races at the track. He will have a good car again this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has notched three top 11 finishes in the last four trips to the Pennsylvania hills. He will be fast again this trip to PA.
No. 78 Kurt Busch: Busch has been fantastic at Pocono during his career. He should be fast again this visit to the track.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne has been one of the better drivers at the past few races. He is a good fantasy option this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biff has finally figured out Pocono the past few visits to the track. He is a great choice this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has had plenty of past success at Pocono. He should be one of the fastest cars on the track.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has been awesome in three of the last seven races at Pocono. He will need luck to flirt with the top 10 this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has two top five finishes in his first seven trips to Pocono. He will just miss the top 10.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished inside the top 18 in 13 of the past 14 races at Pocono. He should have another fast sled on Sunday.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano took the checkers during the June race last year. He is a good choice this weekend.
No. 31 JeffBurton: Pocono has been a good track forBurtonduring his career. With some luck he could be in the top 15 when the checkers fly late Sunday afternoon.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. finished second last fall at Pocono, but that was far better than his average ride at the track. He will just miss the top 15.
No. 55 Mark Martin: Martin has finished in the top five in 20 of his 53 career starts at Pocono. We project he will finish just outside the top 15.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola has been driving fantastic this season. He is worth using as a third driver in most leagues.
21 to 30
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has driven well on flat-tracks and is someone to use this weekend.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky struggled at Pocono earlier this year and should still have a little trouble this visit to the unique track.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has just four top 10 finishes in 22 career Pocono starts. He won’t make it five on Sunday.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard's average finish at Pocono is 20th. He should finish right around his average this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has had two top 10 finishes at Pocono since 2009.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears has averaged just a 25th place finish during his career at Pocono. He isn’t much of an option.
No. 47 Bobby Labonte: Labonte has three wins at Pocono in his career. With the way he is driving this season he is the best of the super cheap options.
No. 83 David Reutimann: Reutimann has been fast in five of the last six races at the track. He is a fine sleeper pick.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick is just a notch above the field filler category.
No. 51 A.J. Allmendinger: The Dinger hasn’t shown much so far this year.
No. 34 David Ragan
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 7 Dave Blaney
No. 93 Travis Kvapil
No. 30 David Stremme
No. 35 Josh Wise
No. 33 Tony Raines
No. 98 Michael McDowell
No. 36 J.J. Yeley
No. 32 Timmy Hill
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 19 Alex Kennedy
No. 52 Brian Keselowski
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Denny Hamlin
B. Ryan Newman
B. Kurt Busch
C. Casey Mears