NASCAR Picks for Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway
It was just last month that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visited Pocono Raceway, but it is already time for a return trip to "The Tricky Triangle" this weekend for Sunday's Gander RV 400. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were set for an epic battle here back in June, but a late pit road penalty for Harvick turned things into a runaway for Busch.
Track position and pit strategy are always crucial at Pocono, and while a small group of big names have piled up a bunch of excellent finishes at the track, stage points can actually be a little tough to predict. Since drivers running near the front can pit without losing a lap, you will often see several of the frontrunners pit right before the end of each stage, sacrificing stage points for track position.
In addition to some volatility with stage points, the running order can contain several surprises once you get past the typical Pocono studs. Back in the June race, Daniel Hemric and Chris Buescher picked up Top 15s, and Matt DiBenedetto and Michael McDowell cracked the Top 20. You also had some a couple of higher-end, second-tier drivers (Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer) finish in the Top 5.
Add it all up, and Sunday's race is an opportunity to get a little creative with your season-long Fantasy NASCAR lineups for Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game. At the very least, I think you need to save starts from the top Group B and Group C drivers in the DGG, and unless you happen to have a bunch of starts remaining from the elite options at Fantasy Live, I'd consider allocating at least four spots to some of those second-tier drivers who show speed in practice and qualifying.
Kyle Busch, #18 M&M's, Joe Gibbs Racing
Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite/Discount Tires, Team Penske
Martin Truex, Jr., #19 Bass Pro Shops, Joe Gibbs Racing
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing
Erik Jones, #20 DeWalt, Joe Gibbs Racing
Chase Elliott, #9 NAPA Auto Parts, Hendrick Motorsports
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Team Penske
Kyle Larson, #42 CreditOne, Chip Ganassi Racing
Kurt Busch, #1 Monster Energy, Chip Ganassi Racing
Ryan Blaney, #12 Menards/PPG, Team Penske
Clint Bowyer, #14 Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing
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