Thursday, May 31, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Pocono 400


By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kurt Busch -5
Kevin Harvick - 4
All with 3 - Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch

By Track
All with 7 - Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick
Both with 6 - Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin
All with 4 - Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman 

Recent Pole Winners:  
2017 Kyle Busch
2016 Brad Keselowski

Last Year's Race Winner: Ryan Blaney

The Likely Suspects: The Tricky Triangle is one of those tracks where a driver is rarely good at all the turns. In this case, there is three. I know, weird, but challenging. These elite drivers usually have it figured out: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

My 2 Cents: When picking this week, think drivers with road course experience. My no-brainer pick this week is Kurt Busch. My next picks are Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. I will complete my team with Michael McDowell and David Ragan.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Denny Hamlin. Denny has a decent record at this track with four wins, 10 top 5s, 15 top 10s and three poles. Last weekend, the team and Denny did well avoiding penalties on pit road. Last week's second-look driver Erik Jones and the #20 team did not fare so well on pit road. Erik finished in 19th place after three bizarre incidents, including his front tire-changer losing his pit gun.

My Final Four: Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell.

Points to Ponder:
  • The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (16) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway – a 20% winning percentage. 
  •  Denny Hamlin leads all active series drivers in wins at Pocono with four (2006 sweep, 2009 and 2010). 
  • Four active drivers have multiple wins at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (four), Jimmie Johnson (three), Kurt Busch (three) and Kasey Kahne (two). 
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Pocono with five; followed by Kevin Harvick with four. Busch also leads all active Monster Energy Series drivers with 14 top fives; followed by Jimmie Johnson with 11. 
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch lead all active Monster Energy Series drivers with 19 top-10 finishes each.
  • Erik Jones (two starts) leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 5.5.
    Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, June 1, and pick your starters by 2 p.m. EDT on race day, Sunday, June 3.

    Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

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