The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Long Pond, Pennsylvania this week for the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400. The race can be seen Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing.
Pocono is unlike any other track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. It is known as the "Tricky Triangle" because of its shape and three distinct turns. Setting up a car for Pocono is difficult because it is almost impossible to get the car to turn freely through all three corners. The driver's ability to figure out where to shift and brake in the corners is more important than the setup of the car this week.
The drivers who know how to turn fast laps at Pocono are the drivers fantasy teams should be focusing on this week. It is hard to come to the track and figure it out in one weekend. There are many drivers who have had a lot of success at the track. Here are the drivers with the best average finishing position at Pocono since the track was repaved for the 2012 races.
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|Average Finish Position at Pocono Since 2012|
|Driver||Races||Wins||Top 10||Avg Finish|
|Dale Earnhardt Jr.||8||2||6||8.1|
Matt Kenseth was the only driver who was able to finish in the top six in both races at Pocono in 2015. The No. 20 car finished sixth in the June race and came back to win at the track two months later. Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano also ran well at the track. Truex led 97 laps in the Xalta 400 on his way to Victory Lane and Logano led 97 laps in the Windows 10 400. These three drivers will be excellent picks for fantasy teams this week.
Here are the results from the two races at Pocono Raceway in 2015:
2015 Xalta 400 Results
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Joey Logano
- Kurt Busch
2015 Windows 10 400 Results
- Matt Kenseth
- Brad Keselowski
- Jeff Gordon (Not racing)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Greg Biffle
Driver's starting position will be important this week, but not as important as it is on the shorter tracks. The average starting position of the last five winners at Pocono is ninth. Fantasy teams will want to select drivers who start the race between positions 10-25 this week.
Selecting drivers who start deeper in the field is important because of the scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing. The game rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. Fantasy teams must capitalize on the bonus points for position differential in order to finish at the top of their league standings.
Pick to Win
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,000) has been the best driver in the sport the last month. He won the pole for two of the last three point races and Truex led the most laps in two of the three races. The No. 78 team heads into Pocono after one of the most dominating performances in the history of the sport at Charlotte. Truex is the defending race winner at Pocono and he should be the favorite to get back to Victory Lane Sunday.
Jimmie Johnson ($11,900) has been to Victory Lane three times at Pocono. The No. 48 team should be one of the cars battling for the win this week. Johnson finished both races at the track in the top six last season. His team seems to be running better this year than they were at this time last year. Johnson is a great driver to build your fantasy team around this week.
Kevin Harvick ($13,300) has had one of the most dominant cars in the last two seasons at Pocono. The No. 4 car has finished two of the last three races at the track in the runner-up position. Harvick may have made it three for three if he did not have engine problems in the August race at the track. He will have momentum after his second-place finish at Charlotte. Harvick is worth his high price this week.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($12,100) will be the best choice in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game this week. The No. 88 team has qualified poorly in most of the races this season, but he has finished higher than where he started in 10 of the 13 races this season. Earnhardt should score the most points for position differential Sunday. He has a series-best average finishing position and a series-best driver ranking in the last two seasons at Pocono. That includes two trips to Victory Lane.
Joey Logano ($10,200) has not always run well at Pocono but he seems to have figured out the rhythm it takes to make fast laps the last two seasons. Logano has the fourth-best driver ranking in the last four races at the track. Team Penske is getting closer to their 2015 form and it would not be surprising to see Logano competing for the win at the end of the race Sunday.
Kyle Larson ($7,700) has been one of the biggest surprises the last month of the season. He finished second at Dover, won the Sprint Showdown race, almost won the All-Star race and ran upfront in most of the Coca-Cola 600. Pocono is one of Larson's best tracks so he should keep the momentum going this week. Larson has the third-best average finish at the track in the last two seasons. He is a great bargain for under $8,000.
Greg Biffle ($6,800) has not been running in the top five in the recent races, but Roush-Fenway Racing seems to have found some speed and Biffle has been the biggest beneficiary. Biffle won one of the Showdown races at Charlotte and finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600. Pocono is one of Biffle's best tracks. He has the fourth-best average finishing position in the last two seasons and comes off a top-five finish in the last race at the track. He is a great value pick this week.
Tony Stewart ($6,400) will probably never get back to where he used to be as a driver, but he is still underpriced in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game. If Stewart is going to have a good run this season it could come at Pocono. Stewart-Haas Racing has run well at the track and Stewart finished in the top 10 in the last race at the track. He is well worth his cheap price this week.
Here are my picks for the Xalta 400 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:
Driver 1: Dale Earnhardt Jr. $12,100
Driver 2: Joey Logano $12,100
Driver 3: Martin Truex Jr. $10,000
Driver 4: Matt Kenseth $9,200
Driver 5: Kyle Larson $7,700
FOX Fantasy Auto Resources
And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season! First, second and third place each win a prize. Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.