Here are five drivers to watch as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 400.
The NASCAR Cup Series is headed to Pocono Raceway for the first of two visits within eight races at the 2.5-mile triangle shaped track .
Four of the five drivers from the last edition of who to watch finished inside the top-8 at Charlotte. Kevin Harvick, the only driver who didn’t finish inside the top eight, lost an engine after just 83 laps and finished in last place.
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have combined to win six of the last seven races. Will one of them make it a seventh win this weekend? Can Chevrolet find victory lane for the first time since Daytona? Will one of the Team Penske Fords visit Pocono’s victory lane again?
Here are five drivers to keep any eye on this weekend to see how they perform at Pocono Raceway.
If there is a track for Brad Keselowski to find victory lane for the first time this season, Pocono Raceway would be a good track to list at the top.
Keselowski is one of only two drivers to finish inside the top-five in the last three races at Pocono. During that time Keselowski has led laps in each of the three races for a total of 25 laps.
He also has the second best average finish, 4.0, in the last three races at Pocono.
Kyle Busch dominate the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway last weekend. The win gave Busch a victory on every active track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit.
Busch is the most recent winner at Pocono Raceway. Ironically, Pocono and Charlotte were the final two tracks for Busch to cross of his list.
In his last three races at Pocono, Busch has three top-ten finishes and has led 175 laps. The next closest driver to Busch in laps led is Martin Truex Jr. with 52.
Who is the other driver to finish inside the top-five in the last three races at Pocono? You guessed it. Kevin Harvick.
Harvick has an average finish of 2.7 at Pocono in his last three races at the Tricky Triangle. His finishes of fourth, second and second, are best among all active drivers.
So what makes Pocono one of Harvick’s best race tracks?
“It’s a place I enjoy going – not so much the place I enjoyed going in my previous life before I came to Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Harvick in his pre-race team release.
“It was never a track we ran very well at, but we’ve come to find out that if you have the cars where they need to be and the people around you, things are much different. So, Pocono is a place that I’ve learned to enjoy more than I did in my previous life at RCR.”
In his rookie season, Erik Jones finished third and eighth at Pocono Raceway. Two impressive finishes for a driver who had only one previous start in a NASCAR stock car at the Tricky Triangle.
Those top-ten finishes make Jones one of only ten drivers to have two or more top-ten finishes in the last three races at Pocono Raceway.
Jones quietly sits 13th in the point standings, only 13 points behind seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
If it wasn’t for a 33rd place finish in his last race at Pocono Raceway, Larson would probably be listed higher due to his statistics.
Larson is one of the ten drivers to finish inside the top-10 in his last three races at Pocono. He has also led a total of 46 laps at Pocono. That places him third highest among active drivers.
Martin Truex Jr. could have easily been listed as the fifth driver to watch this weekend. He has led the second most laps, 52, and has two top-10 and one top-5 finish in his last three races.
Truex Jr. looks forward to heading to Pocono Raceway each year.
“We have had some success at Pocono but on the other hand we’ve had some strange things happen to us there,” Truex said in his pre-race team release.
“It’s a unique track with the long straightaway and three totally different turns. You need to hit all the turns to be competitive. I look forward to Pocono.”
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