NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Pocono 400

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 4 - Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.  
All with 3 - Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 8
Brad Keselowski - 7
All with 6 - Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin
All with 5 - Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott 

Recent Pole Winners:
2018 Ryan Blaney  
2017 Kyle Busch

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: There's a collection of elite drivers that have mastered this three-turn race course. I will be looking to these racers to run well this weekend: Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, last week's winner Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson.

My 2 Cents: At Pocono, even the best car doesn't always handle each of these very different turns well. However, the drivers with road course experience are able to compensate better than most. My no-brainer pick this week is Kyle Busch. My next picks are Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Clint Bowyer. I will complete my team with Michael McDowell and Chris Buescher.

Second-Look Driver: For the second consecutive week, Chris Buescher is my second-look driver.  Buescher, 26, is still looking for his second Cup win. He has been putting together decent runs over the past several races and got his first Cup win here in 2016 in a weather-delayed Monday race where strategy and rain/fog played important roles. 

Last week Buescher had a stellar race with some ups and downs, including hitting the fence on Lap 116 followed by cutting a tire 12 laps later, which brought out one of the 16 cautions of the race. Buescher and the No. 37 team were able to battle back for a sixth-place finish. Buescher started 22nd on the grid. He is coincidentally 22nd in the point standings going into this week's race.

My Final Four: Kyle Larson, 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 19.5% winning percentage. 
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers at Pocono Raceway with four poles (Spring 2010, Fall 2015, 2017 sweep).
  • Denny Hamlin leads all active series drivers in wins at Pocono with four victories (2006 sweep, 2009 and 2010).
  • There are 24 different drivers with multiple series wins at Pocono Raceway; including five active drivers: Denny Hamlin (four), Jimmie Johnson (three), Kurt Busch (three), Kyle Busch (two) and Martin Truex Jr. (two).
  • Kurt Busch leads all active drivers in runner-up finishes at Pocono with five, as well as top fives at Pocono with 14. He is tied with Jimmie Johnson in top 10s at Pocono with 20.
  • Erik Jones leads all active drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in average finishing position at Pocono with a 11.250 in four starts.
      Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. ET on Sat. June 1, and pick your starters by 2 p.m. ET on race day, Sun. June 2.

      Enjoy the race!

      Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice at NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway, and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at
      Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings or hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat. 

      NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Pocono 400 NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Pocono 400 Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, May 30, 2019 Rating: 5