Early Week Driver Rankings for Pocono


The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels north this week for the Pocono 400. This will be one of the most unpredictable races of the season. The teams will use the 550 HP engines with the higher-downforce aero package. The cars will drive through the three corners of the Tricky Triangle wide open for the first time. It will be interesting for sure. The Pocono 400 can be seen Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on FS1.

The MENCS will have a unique schedule this week. There will be two practices Friday. The first practice will be at 2 p.m. ET (No TV) and final practice will be at 4 p.m. ET on FS2. Yes, FS2…not FS1, so set your DVRs properly. Qualifying will be Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET on FS1.

NASCAR will have a post qualifying inspection Sunday. Any car that fails will start in the back in the Pocono 400. These cars will be scored from the back in Fantasy NASCAR since their qualifying time will be disallowed.

My early week pick for the pole is Austin Dillon. The No. 3 car has a series-best 5.2 average starting position at the tracks where the 550 HP engine, high-downforce aero package is used. Dillon has qualified in the top 5 in 4 of the 5 races using this rules package. I am sure Richard Childress Racing will have their cars trimmed out to post a fast qualifying lap.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. This week I used driver rankings from the 5 races where the 550 HP aero package was used, average finishing position in the races where the 550 HP aero package was used, average finishing position in the last 4 races, overall green flag speed in 2019, driver ratings at Pocono and average running position at Pocono.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Pocono…


1. Kyle Busch
2. Chase Elliott
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kurt Busch
8. Erik Jones
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Joey Logano
11. Ryan Blaney
12. Alex Bowman
13. William Byron
14. Jimmie Johnson
15. Kyle Larson
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. Aric Almirola
18. Daniel Suarez
19. Ryan Newman
20. Austin Dillon
21. Paul Menard
22. Chris Buescher
23. Daniel Hemric
24. David Ragan
25. Michael McDowell
26. Ty Dillon
27. Ryan Preece
28. Matt Dibenedetto
29. Corey Lajoie
30. Darrell Wallace Jr.
31. Matt Tifft
32. Ross Chastian
33. Landon Cassill
34. Quinn Houff
35. Cody Ware
36. Bayley Currey
37. B.J. McLeod
38. Joey Gase


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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