Track: Pocono Speedway
Type: Long (2.5 mile Tri-oval)
Time: Sunday, 3:00 pm EST on NBCSN
Keys to this week:
And we’re back at Pocono Speedway this week for the Gander RV 400. This race is unlike every other track out there as it is a true triangle with only 3 turns, and each of those turns are set up differently to mimic turns at other tracks. It also happens to be the longest non-road track on the circuit. we have 160 laps in this race, which will make dominator points a lot less of a priority in this race. This track earlier this season had the least passing here in 5 races. That was exactly how I thought it was going to go, and I expect the same here this week.
I think we can go balanced with our drivers – use some guys with great starting positions and some who didn’t qualify as well, but have fast cars. History won’t matter as much here except for the race here weeks ago, so I will be looking at practice ranks, and qualifying times for this race. I’ll be trying to stick with drivers who either are starting near the beginning, or if they had an issue in qualifying/don’t pass inspection and have their qualifying disqualified. I think we will see a very similar race to the Pocono 400. The last race here saw many drivers fail inspection and move to the back, so keep an eye on it before you finalize your lineups. Also they have applied PJ1 Trackbite to the track for this race, so it may race a bit different.
For those of you who are unaware, PJ1 TrackBite is a chemical compound that acts to help the cars stick to the track better. It encourages passing by allowing cars to get better grip in unused groves of the track.
Weather by Chris Rothar
Pocono Raceway Long Pond, PA
A beautiful afternoon for a race in store. Partly sunny skies with temperatures in the lower 80’s and a nice breeze at 10-15 mph.
12k+ guys (FD) 10k+ guys (DK), listed in order as I like them.
Busch won the race at Pocono earlier this season. He also not only won the race before that as well, but has won 3 out of the last 10 with 7 top 10 finishes here. He loves racing on this track, and with him starting 7th I expect him to do well here again. His car has shown top 10 speed in both practices (9 & 5). I anticipate that he will be able to finish top 5 and has a good chance at winning this race again.
One of the big stories in NASCAR is the fact that Kevin Harvick finally won a race this season. Is it time for him to final win one at Pocono? There’s nothing he would love more than to make it 2 in a row. He’s sitting on the pole as of now, and he’s showing decent speed here in practice (13th for both) and last week as well. I don’t see him winning the race this weekend but think he’ll make a good run at it and stay in the top 5. He’s still a good play if you are looking to pay up.
Notes: Kes has 7 top 5 finishes here in his last 10 races. I think he will be a popular pick because of that, but his car didn’t look great in either practice. I’ll play him some, but not as much as the guys above.
8-12k guys (FD) / 7.5-10k guys (DK), listed in order as I like them.
Erik Jones only has one bad race at Pocono in his history and has 3 top 5 (4 top 10) finishes in his 5 races here. Jones has a great car again this week in practices (7th and 1st) and has shown that it wasn’t a fluke by qualifying 4th. He finished third last week in NH, and finished 3rd here at Pocono in the last race where he also started 4th. I like Jones a lot this week, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he challenges for a win.
Byron won the pole at Pocono earlier this season, and managed to come away with a top 10 finish. He’s had a really fast car for much of the season, and here isn’t any different. He had practice speeds that ranked him at 2nd and 4th and will be starting from the 8th spot this weekend. Another top 10 finish here wouldn’t surprise me and I think he’s good enough to place top 5.
UPDATE: Byron failed 1st round of tech and is now moving to the back. I like him less now, but I think he will still be an OK play.
Another driver with a fast car at Pocono this week is Kurt Busch. He will be starting from the 9th spot, right behind his brother, and had the 2nd fastest speed in the second practice this weekend. Kurt does have a win here in his past, and seems to race pretty well here with 10 place differential spots in the race earlier this season.
Newman doesn’t have the fastest car out there, but he does have an ability to advance and has shown it a lot recently. He’s driving well without the speed with 5 top 10 finishes in his last 6 races. One of those races is Michigan (2 miles), where he finished 8th after starting 18th. He has a great price on FD this week, and is worth taking a look at on DK as well.
Your low – mid tier priced players on both sites, listed in order as I like them. Use as needed.
Hemric is an interesting driver for me this weekend at Pocono. I like that he had decent practice speeds, and that he qualified 22nd for the race. I really like that he started just about this spot earlier this year at this track and had a PD of +10 finishing 13th. He’s shown promise on longer tracks this season, so I like him to do OK this week.
MDB looks to start this race from the 13th spot. He showed a lot of speed in practice with a 10th and 3rd place in both, and also finished really well (5th) in the NH race last week. He drove OK here earlier in the season with a +5 PD, finishing 17th, but I think he can do better this week. A top 10 finish is in his capability.
The Yellow Flags
These are your deep punts – use with caution! They will help you fit the high priced drivers, but may not do much more. I don’t see a need to use any of these drivers on FanDuel to make your lineups.
Did you know we have NASCAR rankings? Well, we do and you can get to them here: NASCAR RANKINGS . These will typically be updated hours before the race with the latest information used to calculate the driver grades.