The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Pocono Raceway Sunday. This will be race No. 21 on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. That means there are only six races left in the Fantasy Live regular season. Two of the races are on road courses (Indianapolis and Watkins Glen) and one is on a Superspeedway (Daytona). I will do my best to help us solve the “Tricky Triangle” this week.
So, how are your Fantasy Live lineups performing? We do not have many races left to make up ground in our league standings. My lineups are outscoring 99.5% of the entries on the Fantasy Live game. There is no time to celebrate though. We need six more strong runs to ensure we have another successful regular season in Fantasy Live and take that momentum into the playoff portion of the game.
Here are the Fantasy Live Points so far this year….
STRATEGY FOR POCONO
I mapped out my allocations with every driver throughout the season to ensure we have the best drivers at their best tracks. Three of the races left on the schedule are “wild card races.” I plan to use Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick in the two road course races and pair them with some road course specialists. Daytona is a total crapshoot, so I am not worried about allocations at all for that race. So that means we have three races left to use our top drivers (Pocono, Richmond and Michigan). I have at least three allocations left with most of my top drivers, so I plan to use them this week.
CUP SERIES PRACTICE SPEEDS
The Cup Series had a 20-minute practice session to shake down their cars for Sunday’s race. Pocono is a 2-5-mile, triangle-shaped track. Most of the teams did not have enough practice time to make a 10-lap run, but many of the teams were able to make a five-lap run.
Here are the practice speeds for the HighPoint.com 400 at Pocono….
GROUP PRACTICE SPEEDS
The track conditions were totally different for Group A and Group B. The track had a lot more speed in Group B, so many of the drivers from Group A are further down the speed chart. It will be important to look at the speeds from both groups and not just the overall speed.
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP FOR POCONO
MARTIN TRUEX JR. (3): I have three allocations left with Truex and I plan to use one this week. I will use the others at Richmond and the final allocation will be used at Michigan or Watkins Glen. The No. 19 car is just too good to fade right now. Truex finished 1st (New Hampshire), 2nd (Nashville), 1st (Sonoma), 5th (Gateway) and 3rd (Charlotte) since Memorial Day. He looks fast again this weekend. Truex posted the fifth-fastest speed in practice and qualified on the front row for the race. I will play the hot hand and use the No. 19 car again Sunday.
DENNY HAMLIN (3): Hamlin has been a beast at Pocono. He has a Cup Series high, six wins at the Tricky Triangle. It should be seven, but his car failed post-race inspection last year. Hamlin would have an average finishing position of 3.8 in the last six races at Pocono if he did not have his win taken away last year. The No. 11 car posted the fastest speed in his group practice and qualified eighth for the race. Hamlin should have a good chance to finish in the top-five, with the upside to win Sunday.
TYLER REDDICK (4): I have four allocations left with Reddick. I need two for the road courses, so that gives me two to play with. I will use one of them this week. Reddick finished second in this race last year while driving for Richard Childress Racing. Now we will get to see what he can do in his 23XI Racing Toyota. Reddick posted the fastest speed in his group practice and qualified seventh for the race. He should have a great chance to finish in the top-10 Sunday.
WILLIAM BYRON (1): I have one allocation left with Byron and I will use it Sunday. Byron has never won at Pocono, but he consistently finishes in the top-10. Byron has an average finishing position of 8.3 in his last eight races at the Tricky Triangle. The No. 24 car looks fast again this weekend. Byron posted the third-fastest speed in his group in practice and won the pole for the race. The No. 24 team’s pit crew is the best in the Cup Series. Byron is going to be tough to beat from the No. 1 pit stall.
KYLE LARSON (2): I have two allocations with Larson left. I plan to use one this week and one next week at Richmond. I can get through the Road Course and Daytona without Larson. He has been good at Michigan, but there are other drivers I can use. Larson posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice and qualified third for the race. This is the time of the season when Larson typically heats up.
(GARAGE PICK) CHRISTOPHER BELL (5): I have plenty of allocations left with the No. 20 car so I will have Bell in the Garage Sunday. He started 11th and finished fourth in this race last year. I like the speed that the Toyota’s had in practice, so Bell should be able to stay up front if his pit crew doesn’t crew up.
* I would use Kevin Harvick over Christopher Bell if I could. I only have two allocations left with Harvick and I need him at Richmond and Michigan. Use Harvick if you have three allocations left with the No. 4 car.
Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR. I will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.