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Drivers to Watch - Pocono

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 Preview

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.

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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.

Betting Odds - Provided by Sportsbook.ag

Jimmie Johnson 5/1
Kevin Harvick 6/1
Jeff Gordon 7/1
Brad Keselowski 8/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Denny Hamlin 10/1
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Joey Logano 12/1
Kasey Kahne 12/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 12/1
Tony Stewart 15/1
Carl Edwards 20/1
Clint Bowyer 25/1
Kurt Busch 30/1
Brian Vickers 30/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
Greg Biffle 40/1
Kyle Larson 40/1
Martin Truex Jr. 50/1
Jamie McMurray 50/1
Paul Menard 75/1
Austin Dillon 100/1
Casey Mears 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 100/1
AJ Allmendinger 100/1
Marcos Ambrose 100/1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 100/1
Danica Patrick 100/1
Justin Allgaier 100/1
Aric Almirola 100/1

  
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