The MENCS competed at Pocono in June and it was not a very good race. Most of the drivers said after the race that passing was nearly impossible. To improve the racing Sunday, NASCAR decided to turn the Tricky Triangle into the Sticky Triangle. The PJ1 traction compound will be added to the tracks to help promote passing and leading changes. I hope it works. The Gander RV 400 can be seen Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
One of the changes this season for the Driver Group Game is that your league commissioner has the ability to change to number of allocations for each driver and can place drivers into any group they choose. My picks will be based on the default settings (8 allocations per driver and the original group settings).
Here are my picks for Pocono…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Kyle Busch (3): I am quickly running out of allocations with Busch but he is too good at this track to ignore. Busch won 3 of the last 4 at Pocono, including the race last June. Many of the teams were talking on the radio about the line Busch was running to make fast, consistent laps in practice. I need to save at least one allocation for Bristol. I will use another allocation with the No. 18 car this week.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kyle Busch 2) Kevin Harvick 3) Joey Logano 4) Martin Truex Jr. 5) Brad Keselowski 6) Chase Elliott 7) Kyle Larson
Driver Group Game B Picks
Erik Jones (4): Pocono is a horsepower racetrack and Joe Gibbs Racing has the speed on the long front and back-stretches to pass a lot of cars. Jones had the fastest car in final practice and he is my sleeper pick to win Sunday. Jones has 5 races on his MENCS resume. He finished 3rd, 5th, 29th (transmission failure), 8th and 3rd. Not too bad. I will use another allocation with the No. 20 car Sunday.
William Byron (8): Byron really looked good in practice. He posted the 4th fastest lap with the fastest 10-lap speed. Pocono is the 2nd-best track for Byron. He has 3 races at the Tricky Triangle on his MENCS resume. Byron finished 9th, 6th and 18th. Byron won the pole for the June race at Pocono and the No. 24 car finished 2nd in Stage 1, 3rd in Stage 2, led 25 laps and finished 9th. I expect a similar race from Byron Sunday.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Erik Jones 2) William Byron 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Daniel Suarez 5) Aric Almirola 6) Kurt Busch 7) Clint Bowyer 8) Ryan Blaney 9) Jimmie Johnson 10) Alex Bowman
Driver Group Game C Picks
Matt DiBenedetto (7): DiBenedetto was really happy with his car in practice. He posted the 3rd fastest speed with the 9th fastest 5-lap average speed. The No. 95 team will have some momentum after their 5th-place finish last week at New Hampshire. This team is really starting to show some improvement. I am glad I have a lot of allocations left with DiBenedetoo. I will use one of them Sunday.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Matt DiBenedetto 2) Daniel Hemric 3) Chris Buescher 4) Michael McDowell 5) David Ragan
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Kyle Busch (3)
Group B: Erik Jones (4), William Byron (8)
Group C: Matt DiBenedetto (7)
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Good luck this week!
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