Did you get enough racing at Pocono? I hope not, because we only half-way through the laps at the Tricky Triangle. The Truck Series and Cup Series raced yesterday at Pocono and now the Xfinity Series and Cup Series will compete today. Will it be a rerun of yesterday’s race? I doubt it.
The rules are a bit different for today’s race. The teams are required to use the same car they used in Saturday’s race. They are only allowed to make minor adjustments. The changes allowed are the same adjustments the teams can make during a normal pit stop.
The drivers who finished 1-20 will be inverted, so the driver who finished 20th (Chris Buescher) will be on the pole and the driver who finished 1st (Alex Bowman) will start 20th. The drivers who finished 21st-38th will start in their finishing position from Saturday’s race.
The race today is 10 laps longer than yesterday’s race. That may not sound like a lot, but it is 25 miles and could affect fuel strategy for today’s race.
The more things change, the more they stay the same… NASCAR had the double-header format at Pocono last year. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola finished in the top-5 in both races. Half of the drivers who finished in the top-10 in the first race, finished in the top-10 in the second race too. The drivers who were fast Saturday, should be fast again today.
My strategy will be to select the drivers who ran well yesterday. I tried to save allocations yesterday with my top drivers and that did not work out well. I will not make that mistake today.
Here are my picks for Explore the Pocono Mountains 350…
* I mapped out my allocations with each driver for each race. I do this each year to ensure I am using each driver at their best tracks. I will tweak it during the season if a driver gets on a hot-streak, but it gives me an idea of what allocations I have left with each driver.
Kyle Busch (3): Kyle Busch had one of the fastest cars yesterday and they should be able to make it a bit faster today. Busch started 5th and finished 2nd. He also 6th best Driver Rating and the 2nd Fastest Green Flag Speed. I only have three allocations left with Busch, but I am using one today.
William Byron (4): William Byron had a fast car once again. He has finished every race on an oval or triangle in the top-10 (Not including the Superspeedways). He is by far the most consistent driver in the Cup Series. Bell started 2nd and finished 3rd yesterday. He also posted the 4th best Driver Rating (100.7), the 4th Fastest Green Flag Speed (167.369) and had the 6th most Quality Passes (34) in the race. He should have no problem getting to the front from the 18th starting position.
Alex Bowman (5): I should have used Alex Bowman Saturday but hindsight is 20/20. Bowman won the 1st race at Pocono and now he will start 20th Sunday. I am not worried about his starting position. Bowman led the Cup Series with 57 quality passes in the race yesterday. No driver in the field was as good as Bowman at passing cars. He also had the 6th best Driver Rating (110.9) and the 8th Fastest Green Flag Speed (166.733). I will use an allocation with Bowman Sunday.
Ryan Blaney (6): It seems like Ryan Blaney gets upset while racing with other drivers a lot at Pocono. Blaney fought with Kyle Busch on the track last year before Blaney put Rowdy into the wall. Yesterday it was William Byron who he had a problem with. The reason why Blaney is always so heated under the helmet is because he is running up front and competing for the win. I expect that to be the case again today.
Brad Keselowski (3): Brad Keselowski was moving to the front like he was shot out of a cannon at the beginning of the race but then he got into Cole Custer. The damage on his car slowed down the No. 2 car, but he was still able to post the 10th fastest average speed and finished 10th in the race. Keselowski has now finished 11 of the last 12 races at Pocono in the top-11. He should finish in the top-10 Sunday.
Garage Driver: Kevin Harvick (4): Kevin Harvick did not have a great race yesterday but he was still able to finish 8th. Now crew chief Rodney Childers has 8 hours to work on the car. I am sure they will find a bit more speed. I will have Harvick in the Garage as an insurance policy just in case the No. 4 car is fast today.
* If you need other options for your lineup or want to know what drivers I like the best for today’s race, check out the Driver Rankings for Pocono
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.
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