5-Hour Energy 500 Predictions
(The Spread) - This weekend the Sprint Cup Series will visit Pocono Raceway for the 5-Hour Energy 500, which is the first of two races scheduled for this season at Pocono.
Pocono is one of the most unique and difficult tracks on the circuit with its 2.5-mile triangular shape. What makes Pocono so difficult is all three of its corners are completely different from each other and whoever is able to master all three usually wins the race.
Track position is very important at Pocono. Passing is nearly impossible unless a driver has superior horsepower. Pocono is essentially a short race, not because you fall asleep in the middle of it, but because there will be lengthy green flag runs and teams will have limited opportunities to make adjustments.
Hamlin got off to a rough start this season, but in the last five races he has four top-10 finishes and we think he’s primed to notch his first victory. In his rookie season, Hamlin started from the pole for both Pocono races and ended up winning each of them. He has since added two more wins and if you take away his two finishes outside of the top 20 in 2008 and 2009, Hamlin’s average finish here is an outstanding 2.6. If Hamlin expects to get back in the hunt for the chase, a win here is almost a must for him.
In the last 11 races at Pocono, Stewart has finished outside of the top 10 just once. Stewart is a two-time winner here and, as everyone knows, this is the time of year where he really starts heating up and putting together potential race-winning runs. Stewart has 10 top-10 finishes in his last 11 races here and has finished third or better in four of his last five starts at Pocono. Stewart has three poles in the last four Pocono races so look for him to be up front early and in contention all day long.
Kurt Busch has finally come to life the last few weeks and we see no reason it shouldn't continue this week at a track he has had success on in the past. (He has six finishes of either first or second.) Both Penske cars showed they had the power to run up front last week, which is a must here. With a little racing luck we could see him in victory lane come Sunday.
5-Hour Energy 500 Race Info
Race Date: Sunday, June 12, 2011
Location: Pocono Raceway
Pre-Race: 1:00PM ET
Green Flag: 1:15PM ET
TV Coverage: TNT
Radio Coverage: MRN
Track Type: “The Tricky Triangle”