Fantasy NASCAR Preview for Pocono

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will compete at Charlotte Pocono Raceway this week for the Pocono 400. This is one of the tougher races to predict because the weather and fuel mileage usually come into play at the end of the race. The weather looks fine for the race right now. Let’s hope it stays like that all week. The race can be seen Sunday evening at 2 p.m. ET on Fox.

The MENCS will have a reduced practice schedule this week. There will be one practice Friday morning and the final practice will be Saturday morning. Qualifying will be Friday evening at 4 p.m. ET.

Kyle Busch won the pole and dominated the race at Pocono last year. He led 100 of the 160 laps in the race. Kyle Larson also ran up front. He qualified 7th, led 9 laps and won Stage 2. Ryan Blaney ran down Kyle Busch with 10 laps to go and went on to win the race.

Race Rewind at Pocono: Pocono 400 (2017)

Pocono is a crew chief and manufactures’ race. The three corners at the Tricky Triangle are very different and it is impossible to get the car to drive perfectly through each of them. The crew chiefs need to sacrifice in one turn to make the car good in the other corners. The teams that have the best balanced car will be fast Sunday.

The engines are also important this week. The cars turn a lot of RPMs at Pocono so the teams with the most horsepower will run up front. Toyota has been working on a new engine and it made its debut last week at Charlotte. It looked pretty good!! Usually there is a shift in momentum after the All-Star Race and teams who dominated the first 12 races come back to the pack and teams who struggled start to catch up. I expect the Toyotas to close the gap on the Fords and become more dominant over the summer. I will have a lot of Fords and Toyotas in my lineup this week.

 

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, Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney

The drivers who could be the top value picks for the race Sunday night include: Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, Erik Jones and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The drivers I expect to be the best cheap drivers for the race Sunday night include: Daniel Suarez, Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger and Darrell Wallace Jr.

 

Top 15 DraftKings Drivers in Last 6 Races at Pocono

Driver

Avg. Finish Pos. Laps Led DK Points

1. Erik Jones

5.5 24

53.5

2. Brad Keselowski

5.7 28 52.0

3. Kyle Busch

13.3 197

44.5

4. Kevin Harvick

10.2 58 43.5

5. Chase Elliott

13.8 51

42.5

6. Matt Kenseth

8.3 42 41.25

7. Kyle Larson

12.8 59

39.75

8. Martin Truex Jr.

14.3 155 37.75

9. Kurt Busch

11.7 45

36.0

10. Daniel Suarez

11 1

34.25

11. Ryan Blaney

13 10

32.5

12. Denny Hamlin

11.5 21 32.25

13. Chris Buescher

18.2 12

31.75

14. Clint Bowyer

16.2 5 31.0

15. AJ Allmendinger

19 3

27.75

 

I will post my final DraftKings picks Saturday evening.

 

Fantasy Live Preview

My Fantasy Live picks continue to climb to the top of the standings.  My picks are now ranked 63rd overall and beating 99.99% of the entries. My goal is to finish inside the top 100 for my 3rd consecutive season. I would love to win the $10K grand prize for winning this game so I need to keep climbing to make it to the top.

*Pick for the Pole*: Our pick for the pole needs to be in before qualifying at 4 p.m. ET on Friday. My pick for the pole will be posted after the first practice Friday (1 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 Sunday so make sure you follow me and get all of the information about the cars as I scan the drivers throughout the race.

*** My final picks for Fantasy Live will be posted after final practice Saturday afternoon. I will also post picks for the new NASCAR America Fantasy Live game.

Here are the drivers I have penciled in right now…

 

5 Starting Drivers

Kyle Busch (4): Busch is my pick to win this week. Busch won the pole for both races at Pocono last year and he is coming off a pole win at Charlotte. He has a great chance to start of front this week and dominate the race like he did at Charlotte. Busch also led the most laps in both races at Pocono last year. He is coming off a great performance at Charlotte and Busch is the defending race winner at Pocono. There is no way you can leave him off your team this week.

 Brad Keselowski (7): Keselowski has been one of the best drivers at Pocono in the last two seasons. He has a series-best 3.75 average finishing position and the fourth-best driver rating. Horsepower is important at Pocono and it is hard to outrun the Roush-Yates engines. Keselowski is still looking for his first win this season. If fuel mileage comes into play Sunday, Keselowski should be one of the favorites to win the race.

Kurt Busch (4): Busch has not won in 2018 but that could change this week. Busch won at Pocono in 2016 and it is no secret Stewart-Haas Racing desperately wants to get Busch and Aric Almirola a win so they can secure their spot in the playoffs. SHR has been giving Busch one of their top cars and it shows. Busch has the third-best average finishing position this season, only behind Kyle Busch and Joey Logano (Yes… He has been better than Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson). His average finishing position in the last 4 races is 5th. I expect Busch to have a fast car and run in the top 10 again this week.

Ryan Blaney (6): Blaney won the spring race at Pocono last year. It was his first win in the MENCS. You would think Blaney would be extra motivated this week to defend his title at this track. The race this week comes down to horsepower and pure speed. That is something that the No. 12 team is very good at generating. Blaney ranks 3rd in Green Lap Speed and 6th in Fastest Laps this season. He qualified for both races at Pocono in the top 5 last year. I expect Blaney to be a threat for the pole and run in the top 10 Sunday.

Erik Jones (7): Jones sure had a fast car last week at Charlotte. The problem is that the team kept beating themselves in the pits. It is a lot easier to clean up mistakes on pit road than it is to find speed for the car. I expect Joe Gibbs Racing to fix these problems before the race Sunday. If they do, Jones could be the best pick in Group B. He finished 3rd and 8th in his two races at Pocono last year and he led laps in both races too. This is one of his best tracks so it would be wise to have Jones on your team this week.

Garage Driver

I plan to have Chase Elliott (7) in the garage this week. Elliott has great stats at Pocono (finished both races in the top 10 last year) but the Hendrick Motorsports have been down on speed this season. They said they found some down force on the new Camaro ZL1 before the race at Charlotte and it showed. Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman ran in the top 10. I will have Elliott in the garage and if his Chevy looks fast in the first half of the race I will use him in my starting lineup.

 

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: Kyle Busch

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch

Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick

Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Winning Manufacturer: Toyota

 

 

Fantrax Bronze Point Salary Cap Game Preview

My Fantrax Bronze Point Salary Cap picks have been cursed this season. Last week Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Kevin Harvick all had problems which forced them out of the race. The good news is that they were running well at the time so their problems had more to do with bad luck than poor performance.

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…

Kevin Harvick

Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Busch

Kurt Busch

Clint Bowyer

Ryan Blaney

Erik Jones

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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