A view of Pocono Raceway during the Windows 10 400 in August of 2015.
By Zachary Lange
June 6, 2016
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
While most tracks on the NASCAR circuit have four or more turns, this week the Sprint Cup series rolls into the three turn “Tricky Triangle” in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
Here are some drivers you will want to look at and avoid Monday.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In 2014, Earnhardt Jr. swept the Pocono races with two victories. Since then, he has gone on to finish top-ten in four of the past five races, with his worst finish being 11th in that time frame. His average finish in the past ten races at Pocono is eighth, which is where he will start Sunday’s race. Look to start the 88 crew in your fantasy lineup.
Denny Hamlin made his first mark in the win column at Pocono back in 2006. In fact, three of his first five victories came from the triangle and Hamlin has won here a grand total of four times.
Hamlin found himself in the early-20s in both practices this weekend, but will start tenth today. Locked into the playoffs via his win at Daytona in February, look for Hamlin and team to potentially roll the dice for a chance at a high finish given his previous successes.
Among all active drivers who have attempted the last five races at Pocono, Danica Patrick ranks last in 31st respectively. Patrick has only finished on the lead lap once in those five races, and will start 33rd after finishing both practices in the mid-20s.
Her price is also above the $6,000 mark, which makes the risk much higher than the reward even if a strategy call were to be made if weather affects Sunday’s race.
Martin Truex Jr.
Fantasy owners may be scratching their heads reading this, but hear it out.
After dominating Charlotte, Martin Truex Jr. looks to continue a hot streak, but finished first practice in 22nd and takes the green flag in 17th on Sunday. While a second practice of fourth is positive, Truex Jr. is the second most expensive driver this weekend, and would command over 20 percent of fantasy owners’ cap room.
Speed shown from the 78 crew this weekend does not warrant fantasy owners to spend that much, and is why they should stay away today.
JTG Daugherty Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger opted not to run first practice, and ended up qualifying in the 32rd position to start Sunday’s race.
That is a lot of ground to make up from the start, but Allmendinger and team have been running at the front of the pack this entire season. And at a modest cost, the points gained from place differential from start to finish make Allmendinger a really nice play today.
Zach’s Draft Kings Lineup:
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. $9,300
No. 11 Denny Hamlin $9,200
No. 2 Brad Keselowski $9,100
No. 42 Kyle Larson $6,800
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger $6,800
No. 27 Paul Menard $6,700
Total Cost: $49,800/$50,000