Fantasy NASCAR Preview for Pocono

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will return to Pocono Raceway for the Gander Outdoors 400. This will be the second race at the Tricky Triangle in the last seven weeks. The race can be seen Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

The MENCS will have their condensed schedule this week. They jammed all of the MENCS practices and qualifying into one day (Saturday). They also will have Xfinity Series qualifying and the race Saturday. Since the schedule is so condensed, I will not have time to post DraftKings Xfinity Series picks Saturday. I will have the picks for the other games posted Saturday night.  Our Driver Group Game Lineups need to be set by 8 am ET Saturday morning.

Ryan Blaney won the pole for the last race at Pocono. The No. 12 led the first 11 laps before Martin Truex Jr. took over the lead. The No. 78 car won Stage 1. Kevin Harvick took the lead to start Stage 2. The No. 4 car dominated most of the race, leading 89 of the 160 laps before Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart with 32 laps to go. Busch led 13 laps before Truex was able to regain the lead. Truex led the final 14 laps on his way to Victory Lane.

Race Rewind at Pocono: Pocono 400 (2018)

We can learn a lot by simply watching the last race at Pocono. Usually there is a change in power between the first race at Pocono to the second trip to the Tricky Triangle. Last year people were asking if Toyota would ever win a race before the series headed into Pocono for the first race. By the time the series returned to Pocono, people were asking if Toyota would ever lose a race again. We have not seen a big change between the teams at the top and teams at the bottom this year. Stewart-Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing have been the top teams since the green flag dropped at Daytona and it has not changed. I expect these teams to continue to dominate throughout the season.

Here are my picks for Pocono…

 

DraftKings NASCAR Preview

There are only 160 laps in the race this week. Only the races on the road courses have fewer laps than the race at Pocono. This means there will only be 80 points available for fastest laps and 40 points available for laps led. The trend at Pocono is to have two drivers lead most of the laps. These two drivers usually score most of the fastest laps in the race. It will be important to try and select these two dominators for our lineups this week.

The drivers I expect to be the top dominators this week are: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.

The drivers who could be the top value picks (between $9k – $7K) for the race Sunday include: Kurt Busch,  Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Ryan Newman

The drivers I expect to be the best cheap drivers (below $7K) for the race Sunday include: Paul Menard, William Byron, Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher and David Ragan

 

Top 15 DraftKings Drivers in Last 6 Races at Pocono

Driver

Avg. Finish Pos. Laps Led DK Points

1. Kevin Harvick

10.5 108

59.25

2. Brad Keselowski

8.5 38 50.75

3. Kyle Busch

12.3 210

49

4. Erik Jones

13.3 0 42.5

5. Chase Elliott

13 51

41.5

6. Kurt Busch

14 45 38.5

7. Kyle Larson

11.8 3

38.5

8. Matt Kenseth

9.5 42 37.5

9. Martin Truex Jr.

14.3 89

37.5

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

19.2 14 37.5

11. Ty Dillon

19.8 3

33

12. Chris Buescher

18 12 32.5

13. Ryan Blaney

11.6 22

31.5

14. AJ Allmendinger

17.3 3 29

15. Clint Bowyer

15.8 8

27.75

 

I will post my final DraftKings picks Saturday night.

 

Fantasy Live Preview

My Fantasy Live picks dropped outside the top 100 for the first time since the Kansas race. If you follow me on Twitter (@MrFantasyNASCAR), you would have seen my rant after the race at New Hampshire. I post how much I hate allocations games. Any time you fade the “Big Three” (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.) you will be screwed. But we cannot use them every week. Last week I faded the “Big Three” and our teams suffered. I really wish Fantasy Live would go back to a salary cap game like it was before.

*Pick for the Pole*: Our pick for the pole needs to be in before qualifying at 4 p.m. ET Saturday. My pick for the pole will be posted after the final practice Saturday (12 p.m. ET) on the front page of this website.

**Garage Driver:  I have been doing my best to keep everyone informed by using my Twitter account @MrFantasyNASCAR. I will do it again Saturday night so make sure you follow me and get all of the information about the cars as I scan the drivers throughout the race.

There are 6 races left in the Fantasy Live regular season. I would love to play Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. this week because they are the best picks in the field. I only have one allocation left with Harvick and Truex and 2 left with Busch. The plan right now is to fade the “Big Three” again this week. I will have to see how they look in practice and where they qualify before I make my final decision.

Here are the drivers I have penciled in right now…

 

5 Starting Drivers

Kyle Larson (4): Larson ran really well in the first race at Pocono. He qualified 13th and finished 2nd. Larson has not been great at the Tricky Triangle in his career but he continues to get better with each race. Larson has finished 3 of the last 4 races at the track in the top 7. The No. 42 team has been a top 5 team all season. I have 4 allocations with 6 races left so I will burn one of them this week.

Brad Keselowski (3): Keselowski killed me last week with his brake issues. Brakes will not be as big of an issue this week so I expect Keselowski to be fine Sunday. Keselowski qualified 17th and finished 5th in the first race at Pocono. He was also able to lead 10 laps and score 17 Stage Points. I expect Keselowski to qualify much better and finish in the top 10 again at Pocono.

Ryan Blaney (4): Blaney had one of the fastest cars in the last race at Pocono and he should be fast again this week. Blaney won the pole and led 11 laps on his way to a 6th-place finish. Blaney won his only race in the MENCS at Pocono so he has to be motivated to come back to the track where he went to Victory Lane. Blaney is coming off a 2nd-place finish at Kentucky and a 7th-place finish at New Hampshire. The momentum should continue with the No. 12 team at the Tricky Triangle.

Chase Elliott (6): 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 was pretty good. I feel comfortable using an allocation with Elliott this week.

Clint Bowyer (4): I need to have at least one Stewart-Haas Racing car in my lineup and right now it is Bowyer. I will keep a close eye on Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola in practice and make my final choice after the practice sessions. Bowyer qualified 9th and finished 20th in the first race at Pocono but you need to look past his finishing position. Bowyer had the 5th-best average running position and score points in both Stages before falling back in the field because of a lose wheel. Bowyer should be a good pick this week.

Garage Driver

My Garage pick should be Denny Hamlin (2) but I do not trust him. His stats at Pocono are very but he is pretty good at beating himself. Instead I will use Aric Almirola (8) in the Garage. Almirola does not have great stats at Pocono but I am not worried about what he did at the Tricky Triangle in the past. He finished 7th in his first race in the No. 10 car at the track and ran well in the race. Almirola finished 8th at Kentucky and 3rd at New Hampshire. He will have some momentum heading into the race this week.

 

Bonus Picks

My Bonus Picks will be updated after I see the cars on the track this weekend. Here are my thoughts right now…

Pick for the Pole: Martin Truex Jr.

Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

Winning Manufacturer: Ford

 

 

Fantrax Bronze Point Salary Cap Game Preview

Finally my Fantrax Bronze Point Salary Cap Game continues to roll along. My picks we the top in my league last week and I hope you had a good week as well. I plan to keep playing Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola. I see no reason to change these drivers since they are running so well. If I do make any changes it will likely be to the other drivers on my team.

I will evaluate the drivers on this team during the practice sessions this week and try to get as much information as possible to help us win. Here is the lineup I have “penciled in” right now…

Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Busch

Kevin Harvick

Kurt Busch

Clint Bowyer

Ryan Blaney

Paul Menard

Aric Almirola

Alex Bowman

William Byron

 

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

 

If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

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