The Axalta Presents the Pocono 400 is this Sunday, and as with most races at Pocono Raceway, there are a couple of additional factors to consider in addition to speed. Yes, having a strong engine is important at this 2.5-mile track, but over the last few years we have seen strategy come into play more and more often, especially fuel mileage gambles. When you add in the Stages this weekend (for the first time), that kind of craziness could potentially go even higher. In other words, this isn’t a bad week to go with a few ‘outside the box’ picks in Fantasy NASCAR.
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. will lead the field to the green for the second week in a row on Sunday and the full starting lineup can be found by clicking here. On Saturday, the cars only got one hour of track time in race trim, so we have very limited practice data to go off of. Those practice speeds can be found here: Happy Hour, and, as always, our in-depth notes can be found here: Happy Hour.
Final Top 25 Ranking For The Pocono 400
1. Kyle Larson – Starts 7th – DraftKings Price: $9,900 – Yahoo! B Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
The best remedy for Kyle Larson losing the race at Dover last weekend is to go out here at Pocono this Sunday and grab the victory. Overall, “The Phenom” has been good here at “The Tricky Triangle” ever since he arrived in the Cup Series–he posted a 5th-place finish in his first ever start here–and since then he has never ended up worse than 12th in his six total starts. Additionally, Larson has led in four of his six career races here at Pocono. Last August, Larson led 37 laps in the rain-shortened event, which was 2nd-best to Joey Logano’s 38 laps led in that race. This weekend, Kyle had a good qualifying effort on Friday (7th) and looked solid in Saturday’s practice session despite spinning out during it, as the #42 Chevrolet wound up 3rd-fastest on Saturday afternoon. Larson is a viable option in all Fantasy NASCAR league formats this weekend.
2. Kyle Busch – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $9,700 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Medium Risk**
If you look at the last three years of Pocono races, the pole sitter hasn’t been as good as you would think. In those six events, the pole sitter has led an average of just 6.5 laps with an average finish of 13.7. However, when you take out last August’s rain-shortened race, those numbers go to 4.6 and 8.8, respectively. With that being said, Kyle Busch has a very good Toyota this weekend and has been a legitimate threat to win for the last month. In Saturday’s practice session, Rowdy wound up 1st on the overall speed chart but didn’t make a ten-lap run (just like many others). Pocono is one of just two tracks that Kyle Busch has never won at on the Cup Series circuit but it’s only a matter of time before he gets to victory lane. One thing you really have to like about Busch this weekend is his dominant performance at Indianapolis last season, which is probably the most similar track to Pocono. Do I see the #18 Toyota dominating here on Sunday? No, but a solid top 5 finish is within reach.
3. Brad Keselowski – Starts 6th – DraftKings Price: $10,100 – Yahoo! A Group
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**
Brad Keselowski has just one career win here at Pocono Raceway but he’s probably end his career with a few more before it’s all said and done. Recently here at “The Tricky Triangle,” Keselowski has been one of the strongest performers in the Cup Series, and that shouldn’t change this weekend. BK has finished 2nd or 3rd in each of the last three Pocono events and has finished 6th or better in seven of the last eleven. This weekend, Brad had a solid qualifying effort here on Friday (6th) and wound up 2nd-fastest in the practice session on Saturday. The bad luck bug has hit this #2 team hard over the last couple weeks, but don’t forget that the Blue Deuce had a bunch of speed in those events as well. If Keselowski can stay out of trouble here on Sunday, he should be able to challenge for the Pocono 400 trophy.