The MENCS competes at Pocono Raceway Sunday in the Gander Outdoors 400. Managing allocations are becoming more important as we head into the 2nd-half of the season. I will do my best to save allocations while giving our teams a good chance to score well. The race this week can be seen at 2:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.
Martin Truex Jr. (5): Qualifying played out perfectly for Truex. He qualified 14th but he will start 8th because 6 cars in front of him failed inspection. Crew chief Cole Pearn said they set the car up for race conditions instead of qualifying since it was an impound race. Truex should have a very fast cat Sunday. Truex won the race at Pocono and he should be a great pick to win again this week. Truex is almost a lock for a top 3 finish again this week.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Kyle Busch 3) Martin Truex Jr. 4) Kyle Larson 5) Brad Keselowski 6) Denny Hamlin 7) Joey Logano 8) Jimmie Johnson
Kurt Busch (3): The No. 41 car passed inspection so he will start 7th Sunday. I really wanted to use Aric Almirola this week but I cannot pull the trigger with the No. 10 car when he starts so deep in the field. Busch won at Pocono in 2016 and he has 3 career wins at the Tricky Triangle. Jeff Burton said in practice that Busch looked like one of the top 3 cars in the field. I will roll the dice with Busch this week.
Chase Elliott (5): It really hurt watching the race last week knowing Elliott was on my bench. The No. 9 team is starting to show some improvement and it may be time to start using Elliott in our starting lineups. Elliott has run well at Pocono in his career. He has finished 4 of his 5 career starts at the track in the top 10. That includes a 10th place finish at the track in June. Elliott had the 7th-best average running position in the last race at Pocono so his car had good speed. I feel comfortable using an allocation with Elliott this week.
Group B Rankings: 1) Kurt Busch 2) Clint Bowyer 3) Chase Elliott 4) Erik Jones 5) Ryan Blaney 6) Aric Almirola 7) Daniel Suarez 8) Austin Dillon
Chris Buescher (6): Buescher will start 12th Sunday and should have a decent chance to finish in the top 20. Buescher won the race at Pocono in 2016. Yes the race was shortened by fog but the team still put Buescher in position to win. He has been pretty good at the Tricky Triangle in his career. He has finished 17th, 28th, 19th and 1st in his last 4 races (16.2 average finishing position). I will gladly take a top 20 finish from Buescher this week.
Group C Rankings: 1) Alex Bowman 2) Chris Buescher 3) William Byron 3) Bubba Wallace 4) David Ragan 5) Michael McDowell
Good luck this week!
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