This week the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series s heads to the “Tricky Triangle” for the Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway, a track that can deliver exciting, four-wide racing or a nail-biting fuel mileage race.
We’ve got our eyes on a longshot for Sunday, who we believe can find his way to victory this weekend. Let’s consider some trends before we get to our picks.
- Nine of the last 11 races at Pocono were won from a top-10 starting position (definitely something to consider after qualifying is over)
- The last four races were won by Toyota drivers (three by Kyle Busch and one from Martin Truex Jr.)
- A Chevrolet driver has not won at Pocono in the last six races there
Kyle Busch in the deserving favorite heading into this weekend’s race. How can he not be? In the last five races at Pocono, Busch has three wins, another top-five finish and hasn’t finished outside of the top 10. He’s led a combined 318 laps in those five races. He’s also started on the pole in two, which speaks volumes to our first trend.
As great as Busch is, however, he’s been known to throw races away. You can easily bet him and feel good about it, but taking him at +250 doesn’t make sense. Anything can happen in a race, and at any moment during the race he could snap and completely throw it away. Consider him in some matchups, but we’ll play against him as a win candidate.
“You never talk a man off a 20-1 longshot,” the saying goes, but can we talk you into one? Erik Jones is the driver to play to win this weekend, and at the time of this article posting, he’s +2000 at BetAmerica. In five starts at Pocono, Jones has three top-five finishes and two more in the top 10. His best finish at the track is a third in last month’s race at Pocono.
His team sits 14th in points and just above the cut line to make the playoffs. With only a handful of races left, they’re desperate for not only a win but a good finish. Also, in the last six Cup races, Jones has two top-five finishes. The oddsmakers have it wrong here. He’s been knocking on the door and has shown he enjoys this weekend’s track, and Joe Gibbs Racing runs very well at this track. If Jones can qualify well and sit close to the lead all race long, we see no reason why he couldn’t find himself in victory lane.
Another win candidate and good weapon in matchups this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. In his last five races at Pocono, Truex has a win, another top-five finish and two more in the top 10, and could be double Busch’s odds. Truex should run just as well as the favorite this weekend. Expect him to qualify well and run up front all day long. Sunday should be a great day for Joe Gibbs Racing.