Sunday's NASCAR Action
June 8, 2013
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The NASCAR drivers will try to maneuver around the "The Tricky Triangle" when they start their engines Sunday for the Party at the Poconos 400 at Pocono Raceway 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 eight different winners in the past 10 races at Pocono, with Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon -- the most recent winner at this track -- as the only two-time champions in the span.
Drivers to Watch
Brad Keselowski (12/1) - If you're strictly a one-driver bettor, put your wager on Keselowski. His odds are three times as much as race favorite Denny Hamlin despite winning at this track in 2011 and placing fourth in the most recent "Tricky Triangle" race. And it's not like he started at advantageous positions in either of those events, winning from the 13th spot and earning his No. 4 finish despite being No. 31 on the starting grid. And after struggling in two races with Kevin Buskirk as his crew chief, Keselowski nearly won at Dover last week with Paul Wolfe back calling the shots, placing fifth. He's also been strong on superspeedways in his young career with two wins, three top-5's and six top-10's.
Carl Edwards (20/1) - These are quite favorable odds for a driver that now sits in second place in the points standings thanks to five top-5's and an average finish of 10.5 this year. He's also had quite a career at Pocono, posting five top-5's, two wins and an average finish of 13.2 over 16 starts.
Jimmie Johnson (5/1) - He hasn't won at Pocono since his sweep in 2004, but that doesn't mean Johnson hasn't been successful in the mountains. In 22 career starts, he's finished outside the top-15 only once, tallying two wins, nine top-5's, 15 top-10's and a 9.0 average finish. He's also led for at least 22 laps in six of his past 10 starts at this track. And although he's placed 22nd and 17th in his past two races this season, the only other time he finished outside the top-10 in consecutive races this season (Bristol and Fontana) he won at Martinsville.
Greg Biffle (35/1) - Last spring, Biffle went off at 15-to-1 odds at this track, so there's no reason to think he can't contend at this track again. He won at Pocono in 2010 and placed eighth in 2011, giving him four top-8 finishes in his career at this track. Biffle has also led at least one lap in two of the past three races at the "Tricky Triangle." It's also time for Biffle to begin creeping back up the standings where he's fallen from 4th to 13th over his past five starts.
Paul Menard (100/1) - 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 sit ninth in the current standings, posting four top-10's and an average finish of 15.8. He's also been consistently strong at this track, placing 13th, 14th, 10th, 9th and 11th in his past five Pocono starts. His past four starting positions for this track (2nd, 7th, 3rd and 3rd) also shows that he can navigate the "Tricky Triangle" with the best of them.