NASCAR heads back to Pocono Raceway this Sunday for the Sprint Cup Series Windows 10 400. The Series was just here in June, but for those who might think that what applied here in June will apply here in August, they had better think again. Not only is the 2.5-mile triangle shaped track a little slicker due to hotter weather, but the really tricky tunnel turn that gave so many drivers such aggravation last time has been smoothed. The bumps that gave everyone fits last time are gone.
Martin Truex Jr. scored a popular win at Pocono in June. He could be in line for a season sweep, Dale Earnhardt Jr. did just that last year, but that is not an easy feat to pull off. Another hot driver right now is Kyle Busch who has won the last three consecutive races, and four out of the last five. The odds are stacked against Busch this weekend however, he has never won at Pocono and has the lowest driver rating among the top drivers, 84.6, and finished 9th here in June. Here are the odds (as of Wednesday night) along with some stats to help fantasy racers and bettors figure the best shot at picking a winner this Sunday.
Kevin Harvick (4-1) Harvick has had six second place finishes since he last won in March. One of those runner-up finishes came here in June. He has a driver rating of 91.9, that’s 11th among the top 16 drivers. Overall he has seven top five and 11 top 10 finishes in 29 races.
Kyle Busch (6-1) the odds makers like Kyle this weekend, but we’re not so sure. He has the lowest driver rating, 83.6, among the top 16 and has a 17.3 average finish. He has 4 top five and eight top 10 finishes along with a pole. He may improve on his ninth place finish here in June, but he will probably not end another Sunday in victory lane.
Jimmie Johnson (7-1) Johnson has struggled the lead two weeks and Pocono could be where he turns is all around. Johnson has the second bet driver rating, 106.9, and has three wins in 27 starts. Johnson may be struggling lately but he can’t be ignored Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. (7-1) Truex did win here in June, but for a driver to sweep both races two years in a row is a rare feat. He has three top five and seven top 10 finishes in 19 starts, and that’s not all that impressive. NASCAR hasn’t even listed his driver rating among its top 16, so while it would be nice to see him win again, it’s not that likely.
Kurt Busch (8-1) Busch has a better chance of winning here Sunday then his younger brother, at least in our opinion. He has a driver rating of 105.9, third best and has two wins, 12 top five and 16 top ten finishes along with two poles in 28 starts. He was fifth ahead of his brother in June and could be celebrating in victory lane instead of his brother this week.
Denny Hamlin (12-1) Despite his odds, Hamlin is our favorite to win this week. He ‘s looked strong since June, when he finished 10th, and prior to Earnhardt was the last driver to sweep the races, doing so in 2006. He has the highest driver rating among the top 16, 108.3, and has a total of four wins along with four to five, 13 top 10 finishes and three poles. If he‘s strong off the truck on Friday, Hamlin could be the driver to beat on Sunday.
Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski all come in at 12-1 odds. None of them however, seem to have had the speed lately to put it all together. Gordon does have the fourth best driver rating among the top 16, 103.5, and in his last race here is the sentimental favorite, but he struggled to a 14th place finish in June and has struggled since. The only driver to keep an eye on is Logano. Logano won here in 2012, and was fourth in June. Keselowski won here in 2011, but was 17th in June. Earnhardt has the season sweep last year and has the 9th highest driver rating, 92.6, but didn’t seem to have the same magic he had last year here in June.