Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Pocono Raceway Data

Season Race #: 14 of 36 (06-08-14)
Track Size: 2.5-miles
Banking/Turn 1: 14 degrees
Banking/Turn 2: 8 degrees
Banking/Turn 3: 6 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 3,740 feet
Backstretch Length: 3,055 feet
Shortstretch Length: 1,780 feet
Race Length: 160 laps / 400 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Pocono

Jimmie Johnson 109.3
Denny Hamlin 109.1
Kurt Busch 104.7
Jeff Gordon 101.1
Tony Stewart 98.5
Carl Edwards 97.3
Ryan Newman 96.4
Kasey Kahne 92.8
Kevin Harvick 89.6
Matt Kenseth 89.6

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Pocono Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 Coors Light Pole winner:
None due to weather

2013 race winner:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
144.202 mph, (02:46:26), 06-09-13

Track qualifying record:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
180.545 mph, 49.819 secs. 08-04-13

Track race record:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
145.384 mph, (03:26:21), 06-12-11

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Re: Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Pocono Driver Tale of the Tape


Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)


· One win, three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 16.4
· Average Running Position of 14.2, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 88.1, 12th-best
· 97 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 1,434 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.042 mph, 12th-fastest
· 2,221 Laps in the Top 15 (67.5%), seventh-most
· 711 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), sixth-most

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)

· Two wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.2
· Average Running Position of 10.6, third-best
· Driver Rating of 104.7, third-best
· 306 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.616 mph, third-fastest
· 2,378 Laps in the Top 15 (75.9%), fifth-most
· 674 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)

· Seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.3
· Average Running Position of 14.8, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.1, 11th-best
· 63 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.073 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,995 Laps in the Top 15 (60.6%), 11th-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Kellogg’s/Cheez-It Ford)

· Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s
· Average finish of 13.3
· Average Running Position of 14.4, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 97.3, sixth-best
· 176 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.300 mph, sixth-fastest
· 2,117 Laps in the Top 15 (64.3%), eighth-most
· 663 Quality Passes, 10th-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)

· Six wins, 19 top fives, 29 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 10.0
· Average Running Position of 10.3, second-best
· Driver Rating of 101.1, fourth-best
· 125 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 1,396 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.473 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,481 Laps in the Top 15 (75.4%), third-most
· 778 Quality Passes, third-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota)

· Four wins, eight top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 12.6
· Average Running Position of 11.0, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 109.1, second-best
· Series-high 434 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 161.830 mph
· 2,257 Laps in the Top 15 (78.2%), sixth-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)

· Five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.1, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 89.6, ninth-best
· 1,564 Green Flag Passes, second-most
· 2,042 Laps in the Top 15 (62.0%), 10th-most
· 712 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)

· Three wins, 10 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 8.8
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.7
· Series-best Driver Rating of 109.3
· 271 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.731 mph, second-fastest
· Series-high 2,610 Laps in the Top 15 (79.3%)
· 775 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet)

· Two wins, five top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 17.0
· Average Running Position of 14.6, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 92.8, eighth-best
· 296 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 1,407 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.404 mph, fifth-fastest
· 1,988 Laps in the Top 15 (60.4%), 12th-most
· 701 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Three top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.9
· Average Running Position of 13.4, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 89.6, 10th-best
· 1,405 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.143 mph, ninth-fastest
· 706 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Ryan Newman (No. 31 WIX Filters Chevrolet)

· One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 11.7
· Average Running Position of 11.0, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.4, seventh-best
· 1,409 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.157 mph, eighth-fastest
· 2,527 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), second-most
· Series-high 823 Quality Passes

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet)

· Two wins, 12 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 11.0
· Average Running Position of 11.9, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 98.5, fifth-best
· 83 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 1,524 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.293 mph, seventh-fastest
· 2,416 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), fourth-most
· 792 Quality Passes, second-most

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Re: Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Pocono 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

In the last two weeks, Jimmie Johnson has squashed any possible notion that the No. 48 team may be having a down year. In the first 11 races, Johnson didn’t win any of them and there was a large contingent of NASCAR fans who were happy. We heard sentiments like, “Johnson wins too much, let someone else win.”

Seven Championships would be awesome to witness because only Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have ever won that many. We’re witnessing greatness, yet we want to see less wins?

Two wins in two weeks is pretty impressive stuff, but he’s so good that no one is wowed by it. It’s just Jimmie being Jimmie. The guy really is a machine, robot-like in his consistency, especially for not falling from elite status for so long. The guy started his career with three wins during his rookie campaign in 2003 and after winning Sunday at Dover he now has 68 career wins. That is greatness right up there with Yankees and Celtics-type of dominance -- right before our eyes happening now, and yet we want him to win less?
   
Yes, NASCAR fans are a strange bunch, and it won’t get any easier to swallow for some if he wins again this week at Pocono Raceway where he’s a three-time winner that has compiled a series best 8.8 average finish over his last 20 starts there. He won this race last season and has finished 14th or better in his last 13 starts. It’s not quite as good as his all-time track marks he had at Dover last week, but it’s still good enough to list him as the driver to beat this week at 5/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $500).

The LVH SuperBook has dropped his Sprint Cup odds from 7/2 last week down to 5/2 on Sunday just because the picture is becoming clearer. While it looks like he is in prime position to win his seventh title, it’ll be tougher for him because of the Chase format this year where the final four drivers will try to race for the title. Best finish takes the trophy and Johnson has still yet to win at Homestead over his career with a un-Johnson-like 14.8 average finish in 13 career starts.

Carl Edwards (6.6), Kevin Harvick (8.1), Jeff Gordon (10.6) and Denny Hamlin (11.2) are among seven current drivers that all have a much better track record than Johnson at Homestead, and at this stage, you have to handicap that race itself and who might be there.

The top candidates to win at Homestead besides Johnson, will be Harvick and Gordon based on their 1.5-mile program this season. Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski have been awesome as well, but Gordon at 8/1 has a nice look to it. Harvick is the LVH’s second choice to win the title at 9/2 odds.

We’ve already established Johnson as the driver to beat this week on Pocono‘s 2.5-mile triangular layout, but there are some other quality candidates that will fetch better odds. Gordon is the first candidate to look at with 8/1 odds. He’s a six-time winner, including great runs in recent years where he’s won twice in his past six starts. He finished second to Kasey Kahne in the fall last season.

The tricky triangle has also been good to Tony Stewart two times with his last win coming in 2009. You know he’s going to step up and win sooner or later, especially with seeing the fast ride he gives teammate Harvick every week, and Pocono would definitely be likely place to occur.

Harvick has never won at Pocono, but he’s also never had such a rocket, either. It’s all or nothing with this team every week and they continue to be fast in every practice of every type of track. There‘s no reason to believe Harvick won‘t be super-fast again this week.

Denny Hamlin started his career off at Pocono with a bang as he swept the 2006 season. He would win again in 2009 and 2010, but he’s had only one top-5 finish over his last six starts and was 43rd -- obviously his worst -- in his last start. Despite the recent struggles, there is bound to be some optimism with the No. 11 team this week after a strong run at Dover.

Keselowski and Logano each have wins at Pocono and should both have the horsepower to get around this fun track. Some fans don’t like it -- they say it‘s boring, but I think it’s very cool just because it’s different.

This race will also mark the change in television coverage where TNT takes over for the next few races. Fox Sports does an amazing job and sets the bar pretty high.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
2) #4 Kevin Harvick (6/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (5/1)
4) #14 Tony Stewart (20/1)
5) #11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)

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Chassis Selections
Jayski.com

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Pocono is PRS-916, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-840 which was last used as a backup at Charlotte.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 457 in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. This is the same Dow Chevrolet SS Dillon drove to a 19th-place finish at Kansas Speedway in May and an 11th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in March. Although this weekend marks Dillon's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series attempt at Pocono Raceway, he has two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the triangle-shaped track, finishing seventh in 2010 and fifth in 2011.
#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 843 in Sunday's race at Pocono. Harvick last raced this car at Darlington Raceway in April where he led a race-high 238 laps en route to his first victory at "The Lady in Black." Harvick has 26 prior NSCS starts at Pocono Raceway. He has five top fives and nine top-10 finishes, and has an average start of 19.0 and an average finish of 14.0 at Pocono.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-870 for Sunday's race at Pocono. Kahne last drove this chassis to a third-place finish at Kansas in May 2014. In 20 Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono, Kahne has recorded two wins, five top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has earned two career pole positions at the track. The driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevy has completed 98.8 percent of laps attempted and has led 217 laps at the 2.5-mile track.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick will pilot Chassis No. 10-838 which was a backup car in March at Auto Club Speedway and then was used for the first time in April at Texas, where Patrick started 24th and finished 27th. The backup chassis No. 10-794 was tested in the wind tunnel May 1, 2013, before being used by Patrick in the Coca-Cola 600 later that month at Charlotte. Patrick started 24th and finished 29th after being involved in a multicar accident on lap 320 of 400. After repairs, she managed to finish the race but completed only 385 laps. The next time Patrick drove this car was in June at Kentucky, where she started 29th and finished 23rd. The last time she drove it was in 2013 at Atlanta where she started 21st and finished 21st. It was used as a backup car in fall 2013 at Kansas, Charlotte and Texas. It was then used in 2014 at Bristol, but she wrecked the car early in the first practice and went to a backup. Since then, it has been a backup at Texas, Darlington and Dover.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 809 serves as the primary chassis. Bowyer drove this to a 23rd -place finish at Kansas. Chassis No. 795 serves as the backup. This chassis has never seen action on a race weekend but has served as a back-up, most recently at Richmond and participated in last week's test at Pocono.
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M team will run chassis RK-896 which was a brand new chassis earlier this season at Texas, earning a sixth-place finish. The backup chassis is RK-879 which last ran Phoenix and finished 17th. Biffle has 22 Sprint Cup career starts at Pocono. In 2010 he earned his only victory at the "tricky triangle," while his other stats include three top-five and six top-10 finishes.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Zest Ford Fusion team will be using primary chassis RK-902 at Pocno, which is the same chassis that the #17 team ran at Darlington Raceway where they finished 20th after being awarded the lucky dog beneficiary twice during the race. The backup Chassis RK- 888, which is the same chassis that the #17 raced at Bristol earning their highest finish of the season. Stenhouse has two Sprint Cup starts at Pocono Raceway with an average starting position of 16.5 and average finishing position of 30.0.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-915 for Pocono, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-844 which was last used as a backup at Charlotte.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-869 for this Sunday's race. This is a new chassis that has never been raced. Gordon holds the record for most wins at "The Tricky Triangle" with six victories. The 42-year-old driver also has two pole positions, 19 top-five finishes (one shy of Mark Martin's record of 20) and 29 top-10s in 42 starts at Pocono. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has led 972 laps at Pocono Raceway during his 22-year career. That ranks Gordon first on the all-time list at the 2.5-mile track, 162 laps led more than the runner-up.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 463 in the 400-mile event at Pocono Raceway. This #27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet SS was previously raced this year at Darlington Raceway where Menard finished in the 41st position after a late-race incident. Menard has 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono Raceway. His best start of second came in 2011 and best finish of ninth came in 2012. The Wisconsin native has completed 2,392 of 2,488 laps attempted (96.1 percent) at the "Tricky Triangle."
#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 456 on Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Chassis No. 456 has been utilized in two Sprint Cup Series events so far in 2014 (Las Vegas Motor Speedway - seventh and Texas Motor Speedway - 16th). In 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Pocono, Newman drove to victory lane in the second summer event of 2003. The "Rocket Man" also owns two pole awards. In total, he's recorded nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He has led 184 laps in competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 10th and average finish of 12th. In the last six races at Pocono, the RCR driver ranks third in most points earned. Plus, Newman's first ever ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards start came at Pocono Raceway in 2000 where he started on the outside pole to win the race.
#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch No. 883 in Sunday's Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. Built new for 2014, No. 883 will see its first laps of racing competition this weekend. The #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet will carry a decal on the lower-rear quarter panel for Haas Factory Outlet, a division of Allendale Machinery that serves Haas Automation customers in New Jersey and Eastern New York with a fully staffed service department and factory-trained personnel. The division stocks an extensive inventory of Haas service and maintenance parts for quick-response service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola:: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-824 for this weekend's 400-mile race at Pocono. Johnson last cruised this chassis to a third-place finish at Darlington. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-728, which Johnson most recently raced in March at Bristol. During Johnson's 13-year Sprint Cup career, he has recorded three consecutive wins on two occasions - once in 2004 and once in 2007 during a span of four consecutive victories. He is the most recent driver to win three consecutive races. In 24 starts at Pocono, Johnson has three wins, ten top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and has led 733 laps around the 2.5-mile track. He has completed all but nine of all possible laps run at the Tricky Triangle for a career completion rate of 99.8 percent (4,458 out of 4,467).
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 799 finished 25th at Richmond and 12th at Phoenix. The backup chassis is 779, which has not raced.
#78-Martin Truex Jr. chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 National Guard team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-810. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 12th-place finish at Fontana, California. In 28 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono Raceway, Earnhardt has recorded one pole position, seven top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He has completed 97.1 percent of all the laps he's attempted (5,116 laps of 5,267 total) and has led a total of 153 laps at the 2.5-mile track. In 2013, the 39-year-old driver had a fourth-place average finish at "The Tricky Triangle".
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Ford Kellogg's team will unload primary chassis RK-921 which is a new chassis. The backup chassis RK-874 was last run this season at Phoenix, finishing eighth. Edwards has two Sprint Cup wins at the Tricky Triangle, the first came during his debut at the track in June of 2005 and the second in August of 2008. Edwards has 18 Sprint Cup starts at Pocono with an average start of 17.2 and an average finish of 13.3. Edwards has finished in the top-five five times and in the top-ten eight times.

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Re: Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Drivers to Watch - Pocono
By Sportsbook.ag

The NASCAR drivers will try to maneuver around the “The Tricky Triangle” when they start their engines Sunday for the Pocono 400 in Pennsylvania. This superspeedway resides in the Pocono Mountains and its tri-oval shape measures 2.5 miles. Although the straightaways are all a nearly-flat 2° of banking, they all are measured at different lengths. The frontstretch is the longest at 3,740 feet, the backstretch is 3,055 feet, and the shortstretch is a mere 1,780 feet. Each turn has a different degree of difficulty. Turn 1 has 14° of banking, Turn 2 is just 8° and Turn 3 is the flattest at 6°. There have been 10 different winners in the past 13 races at Pocono, with Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne -- the most recent winner at this track -- as the only two-time champions in the span.

Drivers to Watch

Denny Hamlin (10/1) -
Considering he was tabbed with 4-to-1 odds at this venue last June, Hamlin's double-digit odds make him the best value pick on the board. Hamlin has won 4-of-16 starts at "The Tricky Triangle" and placed in the top-5 in half of his career races here, starting an average of 6.5 and finishing an average of 12.6, which ranks fifth-best among active drivers. He's also made an impressive climb up the Chase for the Cup standings in the past four weeks with a win in Talladega and a fifth-place showing at Dover to boost him up from 14th place to ninth place. If you can wager on only one driver this Sunday, make sure that pick is Hamlin.

Kasey Kahne (12/1) - Like Hamlin, Kahne also had a considerably lower price tag at this track last year when he was given 7-to-1 odds for both Pocono races, coming through with a victory in the August race, which was his second win and seventh career top-7 finish at Pocono in 20 starts. Although he's sitting in 18th place in the Chase for the Cup standings, the No. 5 car does have top-8 finishes in four of his past 11 races. With such favorable odds, Kahne is worthy of a sizable bet on Sunday.

Carl Edwards (20/1) - These are quite favorable odds for a driver that now sits in third place in the points standings. This high standing is due to seven top-10's and an average finish of 11.1 as the result of Edwards being incredibly consistent with only two finishes outside the top-14 (17th at Daytona, 30rd after crashing at Talladega). Edwards has also had quite a career at Pocono, posting five top-5's, two wins and an average finish of 13.3 (6th-best among active drivers) over 18 starts.

Matt Kenseth (10/1) - Kenseth went off at 5-to-1 last June at Pocono, so this double-digit price tag is a lot more conducive to bettors for a small wager on the current points leader. He already has 10 top-10's and five top-5's this season, including back-to-back third-place showings at Charlotte and Dover. Kenseth has never solved the "Tricky Triangle" with a victory, but he does have 10 single-digit finishes in his 28 starts here.

Paul Menard (75/1) - There admittedly aren't great longshot options here, but if you're feeling lucky, give Menard some one-unit action. He's raced well enough this season to keep him close to the Chase for the Cup, as he sits 14th in the current standings. He's achieved this due to seven top-10's, including three of his past four starts. Although he raced poorly at Pocono last year, placing 30th and 32nd, Menard tallied five straight top-15 finishes before that (13th, 14th, 10th, 9th and 11th). His top-10 starting positions in five of his past six races at this track (2nd, 7th, 3rd, 3rd and 9th) also shows that he can navigate the "Tricky Triangle" with the best of them.


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Re: Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Pocono
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday's Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Who's HOT at Pocono
• Three-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with an 8.8 average finish.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in wins (6) and laps led (972).
• Tony Stewart leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish in the four races since the track was resurfaced.
• Joey Logano has posted three top 10s, including a win, in the last four races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman each finished in the top five in both races last season.
• Four-time winner Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in the last two June races.
• Kasey Kahne has one win and a runner-up finish in his last three starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Pocono

• Clint Bowyer (10.8), Brad Keselowski (11.0), Carl Edwards (11.8) and Greg Biffle (12.8) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers that have raced in the races since Pocono was resurfaced.
• Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Ganassi Racing were among the teams that tested at Pocono.
• Kevin Harvick will be back in the same car he led 239 laps with en route to his first Darlington Raceway win. Pocono is a track Harvick has yet to win at.
• Kyle Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of his last eight Pocono starts, including both races last season.
• Kurt Busch finished in the top 10 in both races last season and will debut a new chassis when he makes his first Pocono start with Stewart-Haas Racing.

Tire Notes: Teams will be running the same left- and right-side tires that they have run at Pocono since June 2012 when the track was resurfaced, with the only change being that the recommended air pressure for the left-side tires has been increased by a pound. Tony Stewart (5.2), Ryan Newman (6.8), Joey Logano (7.8), Jimmie Johnson (8.0) and Jeff Gordon (8.5) hold the top five average finishes in that span. Johnson is the only driver to lead more than 100 laps with 215.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Dustin Long: Jeff Gordon
John Singler: Greg Biffle

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Matt Kenseth:
Pocono wasn't the best of tracks for Kenseth since joining Joe Gibbs Racing last season, posting finishes of 25th and 22nd in his first two track starts with the team. His 10 top-10 finishes all came with Roush Fenway Racing, with the last coming in this race in 2012.

Jeff Gordon: Scored his series-leading sixth Pocono win in the 2012 August race. He's coming off a runner-up finish to lower his average finish to 8.5 in the four races with the current tire combination, which ranks fifth among all drivers. This weekend, Gordon will debut a new car (chassis No. 869) in the Pocono 400.

Carl Edwards: Last top 10 in the June Pocono race came in 2009, which followed his second win at the track. Edwards failed to finish in the top 10 last season, but his average finish (11.9) in the four races with the current tire combination ranks eighth among all drivers. This weekend, Edwards will debut a new car (chassis No. 921).

Jimmie Johnson: Dominated this race last year for third win at Pocono. Johnson's 215 laps led in the four races with the current tire combination far surpass all drivers. His 8.0 average finish in that span ranks fourth among all drivers and his 8.8 overall average finish is a series best. This weekend, Johnson will go for his third straight win of the season in the same car (chassis No. 824) that he finished third with at Darlington.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Has yet to win at Pocono but does have seven top-five finishes, including two last season. Earnhardt's 12.0 average finish in the last four races with the current tire combination ranks ninth among all drivers. This weekend, Earnhardt will return in the same car (chassis No. 810) that he last finished 12th with at Auto Club Speedway.

Joey Logano: Finished in the top 10 in his first two Pocono starts with Team Penske last season. Won this event in 2012 with Joe Gibbs Racing to help give him the third-best average finish (7.8) in the four races with the current tire combination. This weekend, Logano will debut a new car (chassis No. 915) in the Pocono 400.

Kyle Busch: Rebounded from a disappointing 2012 season at Pocono to finish in the top 10 in both races last year. Since winning the pole for this event in 2010, Busch has done fairly well - finishing in the top 10 five times, including two runner-up showings.

Brad Keselowski:
Coming off third top 10 in eight starts. Keselowski, who won the 2011 August race, has the seventh-best average finish (11.0) in the four races with the current tire combination. This weekend, Keselowski will pilot a new car (chassis No. 916).

Denny Hamlin: Last of four wins came in his race in 2010. Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in the last two June races. He failed to lead any laps last season, but did combine to lead 363 in the seven races prior.

Kyle Larson: Tested at Pocono and will run in Saturday's ARCA race in preparation for his first Sprint Cup start at the track.

Ryan Newman: Has finished sixth or better in his last three starts at Pocono to help give him the second-best average finish (6.8) in the last four races with the current tire combination. Newman tested at Pocono in preparation for his first track start with Richard Childress Racing. He will be returning in the same car (chassis No. 456) that he last finished 16th with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Posted his ninth top 10 in 26 starts last year in this event. Will make his first Pocono start with Stewart-Haas Racing in the same car (chassis No. 843) he led 239 laps with en route to the win at Darlington Raceway.

Brian Vickers: Tested at Pocono in preparation for his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing. His last of five top 10s came in the 2009 August race with Red Bull Racing. This weekend, Vickers will pilot the same car (chassis No. 799) that he last finished 25th with at Richmond International Raceway.

Paul Menard: Will look to rebound from a disappointing season at Pocono after completing a recent test at the track. Menard's last of two top 10s came in this event in 2012, ninth place. This weekend, Menard will return in the same car (chassis No. 463) that he finished 41st with at Darlington Raceway after a late-race incident.

Austin Dillon: Tested at Pocono in preparation for his first Pocono Sprint Cup start. Dillon will return in the same car (chassis No. 457) that he last finished 19th with at Kansas Speedway.

Greg Biffle: Finished in the top 10 in both races last season at Pocono, including a runner-up showing (to Jimmie Johnson) in this event. Biffle's win in the 2010 August race is one of four top 10s in the last seven races. This weekend, Biffle will return in the same car (chassis No. 896) that he finished sixth with at Texas Motor Speedway.

Clint Bowyer: Has posted a 10.8 average finish in four Pocono starts with Michael Waltrip Racing. Tested recently at Pocono and will be driving the same car (chassis No. 809) that he finished 23rd with at Kansas Speedway.

Kasey Kahne: Coming off his second win at Pocono after leading 66 laps. Despite a 36th-place finish in this event last year, Kahne also finished second in the 2012 August race. This weekend, Kahne will return in the same car (chassis No. 870) that he finished third with at Kansas Speedway.

Aric Almirola: Best finish in four starts at Pocono is 18th, which came in the 2012 August Race. However, Almirola has finished 13th or better in the last four races this season, including an eighth-place run at Kansas Speedway.

AJ Allmendinger: Making first Pocono start with JTG Daugherty Racing. Only top 10 in 12 starts came in this event in 2010 with Richard Petty Motorsports.

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Re: Pocono 400 Betting News and Notes

Pocono 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts 
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS -- The Hendrick Chevy engines put on quite a show during Saturday's final practices at Pocono Raceway in preparation for Sunday's Pocono 400. The top six speeds during 'happy hour' all had bow-ties on, as did 11 of the top 15. They look so strong that if my sports book had a manufacturer to win prop posted, it would be taken off the board, or maybe placed with such an obscene price at -600 that no one would lay it. And even then it might be too cheap.

Kevin Harvick was once again the star of practice. This is beginning to sound like a broken record every week. Not even the 2.5-mile 'Tricky Triangle,' a track where he has yet to win, could slow Harvick down. This track requires horsepower down the longest front stretch the drivers will see all season, and Harvick showed no one has more of it as he was fastest in both of Saturday's sessions. He also had the best 10-consecutive lap average in the morning session and is using the same chassis that won Darlington in April. He is, without a doubt, the driver to beat.

His closest challengers also wear the Chevrolet bow-tie, which include both of his teammates and three of the four Hendrick Motorsports cars. Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch have each won twice at Pocono, and while they haven't had the same speeds consistently throughout the year like Harvick has, they both mirror the No. 4 car collectively better than they have all season.

Jimmie Johnson will be going for his third straight win after failing to grab the checkered flag in his first 11 races. He's a three-time winner at Pocono, including last spring. He was steady-strong in practice, and despite starting 20th, he'll be contending for the win. He is using his third-place Darlington chassis this week.

Jeff Gordon didn't look as good as the other top Chevys in practice, but you have to account for his history almost as much as actual practice speeds. He has a Pocono-record six wins, including two within the past three seasons, and has led 972 laps here, 162 more than the next closest driver. Not to mention, he's part of the team that manufactures the fast engines. The No. 24 team also has the confidence of knowing the last time the chassis they're using this week ran, it won at Kansas last month.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a great set of practices Saturday and was fastest in the best 5-and 10-consecutive lap category during 'happy hour'. He has never won at Pocono, but did have two top-five finishes last season. He's using his 12th-place Fontana chassis from March.

The best candidate to spoil the Pocono Chevy party on Sunday is Brad Keselowski, who won there in 2011. He didn't run 10-consecutive laps or more during practice, so there is a bit of mystery to how he'll fare during long runs Sunday, which kind of makes him attractive and worth the gamble if the price is right. But he did have plenty of single lap speed and his Penske program has been strong on all the big 1.5-and 2-mile tracks this season.

I was kind of hoping for more out of four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin on Saturday, especially after he won the pole on Friday, but his best lap was 10th fastest during the final practice. Whenever I think of Hamlin at Pocono, it always brings a big smile, not only because I have personally won wagers in three of his four wins, but also because it takes me back to my greatest vacation ever.

My brother and best friend went to Germany during the World Cup in 2006 and toured around some of the outlying countries when close enough. One of the matches took us to Prague where we watched the USA-Czech Republic (USA lost) on the big screens with thousands of Czechs crammed into the massive Old Town Square. While all that was fun of a lifetime, I was worried about the thought of missing the NASCAR race from Pocono which was running much later at night over there.

I came to the realization that there was no way I was going to be able to watch a NASCAR race in Prague, or at least I didn't think so. But I found a sports bar that said they would find it for me, and they did. Luckily the bar stayed open later than usual because it was packed with similar traveling World Cuppers like us drinking the night away. While we sang the 'German bomber song' with dozens of our new English friends, we also watched Hamlin win his first career race.

He would win again a few weeks later in the second Pocono race and in the next World Cup year in 2010, he would win again. It's a World Cup year again, but his speed doesn't appear to be there to compete with the big Chevy horsepower this time around. However, seeing the No. 11 at Pocono with the World Cup as the back drop always brings back great memories and if the price gets high enough, which it should, I'll still back him with a little something just for sentimental sake.

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