Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch will be tough to beat at Pocono. He’s the most recent winner and last year between the combined events nobody was better than him. In 2017 at the “Tricky Triangle” he had the best driver rating by a wide margin and led the most laps (174). Last summer, Kyle Busch was the class of the field. He started on the pole, finished 1st, earned the best driver rating, led 74 laps and won Stage #1. In spring 2017 nobody was better than Kyle Busch. He earned the best driver rating, had a 2nd place average running position, led 100 laps and finished 9th. Late in the race there was a caution and almost everyone pitted but him. After he got passed from the lead with 10 laps to go he started falling back in the running order. In summer 2016 Busch had a solid race. He finished 9th and had a 9th place average running position. In spring 2016 he had a competitive car but finished a misleading 31st. With 51 laps to go he got into the wall hard and then took his car to the garage. He was running around 10th at the time of his problem. In summer 2015 he had a great chance to get his first Pocono win, but he finished a misleading 21st after running out of fuel late while leading on the last lap. On Sunday look for Kyle Busch to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick has never won at Pocono, but he’ll be a favorite. Over the last seven races minus summer 2015 when he had an engine failure he’s finished in the top ten every race, has four runner-up results and a 3.5 average finish. In 2017 he had a great season and finished 2nd both races. Last summer he had a very strong performance. He finished 2nd, earned the 3rd best driver rating and had a 6th place average running position. With 17 laps to go he passed Denny Hamlin for the lead, only to later be passed by Kyle Busch that same lap. Additionally, he finished 3rd in Stage #1 and would’ve finished in the top five in Stage #2 if pit strategy didn’t come into play. In spring 2017 Harvick had a very strong car and finished runner-up hot on Ryan Blaney’s heels. In the race he earned the 2nd best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position, finished 2nd in Stage #1 and 4th in Stage #2. If there wasn’t a late caution he likely would’ve finished 4th. In summer 2016 he had a great car that might’ve been the best. When the checkered flag waved he earned the best driver rating, finished 4th, had a 7th place average running position and led 7 laps. Over long runs his car was extremely quick. In spring 2016 he had a great car but a pit penalty really hurt him. When the checkered flag waved he finished 9th and had a 10th place average running position. On Sunday look for Harvick to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Martin Truex Jr. – Martin Truex Jr. is a previous Pocono winner who should be on your short list of favorites. He’s had quite a few recent misleading results, but you can count on him to be a factor. Last year at Pocono he had a stellar season and swept the top six. Last summer he had a very strong showing. When the race reached its conclusion he earned the 2nd best driver rating, finished 3rd, had a 4th place average running position and led 31 laps. Additionally he finished 2nd in Stage #1 and should’ve finished 2nd in Stage #2 if pit strategy didn’t enter the equation. Last spring he started in the rear of the field but that wasn’t a problem. When the checkered flag waved he finished 6th and earned the 9th best driver rating. Late in the race it was reported that he had the fastest car on the track. In summer 2016 he had a great car but finished 38th. His problems were flat tire related. In the race he started on the pole and led the opening 16 laps until the first caution. Then when the race went back to green while he was running in 3rd he had a cut tire and nailed the wall hard, later he hit it again. In spring 2016 he also had a tough race. DiBenedetto ran into him on pit road and he hit a big piece of debris under caution. When the checkered flag waved he finished 19th. In 2015 he was very strong in both races. In August 2015 he was clearly top 3 strong but finished 19th after running out of fuel while running in 2nd with 2 laps to go. In June 2015 he raced his way to victory lane and led 97 laps.