This weekend, NASCAR will race at Pocono, twice! Race #1 at the “Tricky Triangle” is on Saturday, and race #2 is on Sunday. Pocono is a big 2.5 mile triangle that is heavy on pit strategy. The running order will be scrambled for much of the race, but at the end the best of the best will find themselves up front.
The starting lineup for race #1 is set, in race #2 the starting lineup will be set by the top 20 finishers from Saturday getting inverted (1st on Saturday starts 20th on Sunday, 20th on Saturday starts 1st on Sunday etc.), and then the 21 through 38 finishers will start where they finished. Because of the invert, don’t be surprised if some drivers on Saturday tank their result a little to get a better starting position on Sunday.
CONTENT NOTE: These Confidence Rankings are for Saturday’s race! Fresh NEW content will come out for Sunday’s race on Saturday Night! For past Pocono history/facts though, this is the post to refer back too!
In terms of variables I want in a fantasy pick for Pocono I want …
- A driver with a good Pocono track record
- A driver who’s showing up with speed on a weekly basis (Total Speed Rankings – Last Six Races, Full Season)
- Starting position is a plus at Pocono, but its certainly not a must. 4 of the last 5 Pocono races have been won from a starting position of 9th or worse.
- I mention similar tracks almost every week and I’m going to list it here, but for Pocono there’s nothing quite like it visited this year.
This year at ifantasyrace.com we’re committed to writing about the full field every week. Find out what Super Low Tier drivers are the best of the best in ….. “The Super Low Tier – Pocono!”
Pocono Fantasy NASCAR Rankings
1) Kyle Larson (Starting – 1st)
Pocono Fantasy Spin – At Pocono, there’s no question Kyle Larson will be the driver to beat. Heading into the weekend, Larson has three straight wins and over the last six races he’s finished in the top 2. What makes Larson so good is that the #5 car is fast. Larson has the best “Season To Date Total Speed Ranking” and over the last four races he’s fielded the fastest car on the track. It’s been years since Larson last raced at Pocono, but I’m certain he’ll be ready to roll and once again crush the competition.
Pocono Track History – Kyle Larson has come close to victory lane in the past at Pocono. Larson obviously missed the races last year, but in his most recent start back in summer 2019 he finished 5th. In his career at Pocono over his twelve starts, Larson has finished in the top five 25% of the the time, in the top ten 50% of the time and in 75% of his starts he’s walked away with a top 12. In summer 2019 when he had his most recent start, Larson finished 5th, was the 5th Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had a 9.4 average running position. In spring 2019, Larson was strong but finished a misleading 26th. In the race he won Stage #1, won Stage #2, led 35 laps but with 9 laps to go while he was running in the top five he got into the wall hard which led to an unexpected pit stop. In summer 2018, Larson had a late race collapse and finished a misleading 23rd. With 8 laps to go he was running in 8th, but something happened to him and I’m speculating he likely pitted during a late caution. In spring 2018, Larson had a great performance and finished 2nd. Additionally, he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 7th place average running position, finished 8th in Stage #1 and 6th in Stage #2. In summer 2017, Larson was very competitive, but finished a misleading 33rd. On lap 70 while he was running in 4th his drive shaft broke and that doomed him to his poor result. In the 7 Pocono races prior to that he finished in the top 12.
DraftKings $12,500/ FanDuel $14,500
2) William Byron (Starting – 2nd)
Pocono Fantasy Spin – William Byron will be a factor at Pocono. The “Tricky Triangle” has been a great track for Byron in the past, but when you factor in how much better the #24 team is running right now, its clear he has tons of potential. On a weekly basis in 2021, Byron has been showing up with speed (3rd best Season To Date Total Speed Ranking) and clicking off good results. This season minus the Daytona 500 and road courses, Byron has a 5.2 average finish. On Saturday, look for Byron to be a top five contender who’ll compete for the win.
Pocono Track History – William Byron has been strong at Pocono and in 4 of the last 5 races he’s finished in the top ten. Over those five combined events, Byron has an 8.0 average finish and a result in the top 14 every race. Last year in race #2, Byron was strong. In the race he started 7th, finished 7th, had the 11th best Total Speed Ranking and was the 7th Fastest Driver Late In A Run. In race #1 2020, Byron finished 14th, had a 15.1 average running position and had the 15th best Total Speed Ranking. In summer 2019, Byron started back in 31st, but raced his way to a 4th place finish which marks his best Pocono result. In spring 2019, Byron had a great performance. He started on the pole, led 25 laps, earned the 4th best driver rating, had an 8th place average running position and finished 9th. In summer 2018, Byron finished 6th.
DraftKings $9,000/ FanDuel $11,500
3) Denny Hamlin (Starting – 10th)
Pocono Fantasy Spin – Denny Hamlin is a legendary performer at Pocono and his six wins are tied with Jeff Gordon for the most all-time. Hamlin’s yet to find victory lane in 2021, but I think he has increased odds this weekend. On Saturday, I’m going to view Hamlin as a top five contender.
Pocono Track History – Denny Hamlin is the premiere performer at Pocono. He’s a six-time winner and over the last three races he’s won twice and has finished in the top 2 every race. Last year at Pocono, Hamlin had a stellar year. In race #2, Hamlin started 19th, led 49 laps, had a 7.3 average running position, ranked as the 3rd Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 6th best Total Speed Ranking. Over the last three segments his speed rankings were 3rd, 3rd and 1st. In race #1 2020, Hamlin finished 2nd, earned the 2nd best driver rating, ranked as the 2nd Fastest Driver Late In A Run and had the 4th best Total Speed Ranking. Over the final segment, I’ll note Hamlin had the fastest car on the track. In summer 2019, Hamlin had a great car and raced his way to victory lane for the first time since 2010. In addition to finishing 1st he earned the best driver rating, had the best average running position (3.3), led 32 laps, finished 4th in Stage #1 and 5th in Stage #2. In terms of speed analytics, Hamlin ranked as the 2nd Fastest Driver Late In A Run. In spring 2019, Hamlin had a solid showing. He finished 6th, earned the 5th best driver rating and had an 8th place average running position.
DraftKings $9,700/ FanDuel $13,500