What 2 Watch 4: Pocono

Wow, what a week at Kansas! We (heard) about a major fight, witnessed Dale Earnhardt Jr. come close to ending his streak, and saw a new winner once again emerge victorious in this crazy 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

This week brings Pocono Raceway, a very unique NASCAR track on the schedule. It is a long triangle with three distinct corners and varying degrees of banking. To get the car set up just perfect here is almost impossible, teams might have to settle for just one section of the track. As we usually have long green flag runs, fuel mileage might be the key (yet again) to winning the race. The long straights on the track might also produce a problem, race engines might be turning maximum RPM’s during each 2.5mile lap, so expect some blown up engine packages!

I’m not doing too bad in my fantasy picks each week, already picking 4 winners, and some very close finishers. When picking fantasy at Pocono, it could be very tricky. It’s very easy to go with a driver like Denny Hamlin who has had plenty of success here, but many teams who have been really good in the past, just aren’t anymore. If you use these picks, be cautious, i’m only an amateur!

Target: Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Carl Edwards

Avoid: Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Analysis: Hamlin has three straight top-five’s, including a win at Pocono (if he doesn’t do well here this weekend, I would be concerned). Stewart has six top-five’s and nine top-10′s in the last 10 races here. Edwards also loves this technical track.

Bargain: Brad Keselowski has proven he can contend for top-20′s. David Ragan’s P14 finish last August was the best since 2008 (where he finished P5). With Brad coming off the momentum of his first win this season last week, and David still looking for that first win, these 2 drivers are probably not a bad pick.

Weather Outlook for Pocono, PA: (Courtesy of weather.com)

Friday: Hi 80/ Lo 60 — 10% chance of rain

Saturday: Hi 70/ Lo 59– 60% chance of T-Storms

Sunday: Hi 76/ Lo 52– 60% chance of T-Storms

NSCS Weekend Schedule:

Practice (Friday 12:30pm, 3:30pm) Qualifying (Saturday 11am (Televised at 11:30am)) Race (Sunday 1pm on TNT)

Don’t forget this week is the first race covered by TNT, which means RaceBuddy is back if you enjoy it! Pocono is a different track, some like it and some don’t, but one can’t argue that it is unique. For all your post race analysis, continue to follow thepacelap.com, as Branden and I will do our best to make you feel like you are part of the action! Have fun this weekend!

Next week: Michigan

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