Driver Handicaps: Pocono

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This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway for Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 200-lap event.

Who's HOT at Pocono
• Denny Hamlin, who leads all drivers with a 8.6 average finish, is coming off his fourth win in nine starts.
• Tony Stewart, the 2009 June winner, has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 10 starts.
• Two-time winner Carl Edwards has the second-best average finish in the five races with the COT.
• Jeff Gordon has four wins and leads all drivers with 879 laps led.
• Two-time winner Jimmie Johnson has finished seventh or better in six of his last eight starts.
• Juan Pablo Montoya, who finished second in this event last year, has finished in the top 10 in his last three starts.
• Mark Martin leads all drivers with 32 top-10 finishes.

Keep an Eye on at Pocono
• Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch each have finished in the top 10 in last two races at Pocono.
• Kasey Kahne, winner of the 2008 June race, has finished in the top 10 in three of his last five starts at Pocono.
• Ryan Newman has one win and seven top 10s and has completed 1,490 laps in the top 15 in the last 11 races at Pocono.
• Kevin Harvick equaled his best finish (fourth) at Pocono in June.
• Kyle Busch is coming off his best finish (second) at Pocono after leading 32 laps from the pole.
• Greg Biffle will be driving the same car that he finished third with last weekend at Indianapolis.
• Jeff Burton finished seventh in June for his 16th top 10 at Pocono.

Active Pole Leaders
Best Starting Average
Races Won from Starting Pos.
1. Bill Elliott - 4 poles
1. Denny Hamlin - 6.4
Pole - 14 Times
2. Mark Martin - 3 poles
2. Jimmie Johnson - 7.8
Top Five - 41 Times
3. Five Drivers - 2 poles
2. Kasey Kahne - 8.3
Top 10 - 47 Times
4. Seven Drivers - 1 pole
4. Mark Martin - 8.8
Top 15 - 58 Times
5. Ryan Newman - 9.6
Worst - 29th, One Time


*Best Average Finish at Pocono Raceway
Last # of Races
Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races
Denny Hamlin
1.0
Four Races
Tony Stewart
4.0
Six Races
Jimmie Johnson
6.5
Eight Races
Tony Stewart
8.6
10 Races
Tony Stewart
10.7
* - The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Pocono Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2010)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin
1. Denny Hamlin - 9.3
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kurt Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson - 10.9
3. Kurt Busch
3. Mark Martin
3. Jeff Gordon - 11.0
4. Mark Martin
4. Tony Stewart
4. Mark Martin - 11.3
5. Jeff Gordon
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Tony Stewart - 11.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Tony Stewart - 1612
1. Tony Stewart - 485
1. Denny Hamlin - 119.1
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1607
2. Matt Kenseth - 483
2. Kurt Busch - 103.7
3. Mark Martin - 1589
3. Jeff Gordon - 482
2. Jimmie Johnson - 103.7
4. Jeff Gordon - 1532
4. Ryan Newman - 479
4. Tony Stewart - 101.4
5. Ryan Newman - 1490
5. Two Drivers - 449
5. Carl Edwards - 98.5

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


For a look at all the pre-race Loop Data for Pocono Raceway view the Sunoco Red Cross 500 pre-race ebook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jimmie Johnson
1. Jeff Gordon - 8.6
2. Jeff Burton
2. Clint Bowyer
1. Jimmie Johnson - 9.4
3. Jeff Gordon
3. Jeff Burton
3. Jeff Burton - 10.2
4. Kyle Busch
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch - 12.3
5. Clint Bowyer
5. Kevin Harvick
4. Kyle Busch - 12.3
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 5162
1. Jeff Burton - 1618
1. Jimmie Johnson - 108.1
2. Jeff Burton - 4931
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1449
2. Jeff Gordon - 105.9
3. Jimmie Johnson - 4805
3. Jeff Gordon - 1332
3. Jeff Burton - 102.2
4. Kyle Busch - 4270
4. Kyle Busch - 1287
4. Kurt Busch - 98.7
5. Kurt Busch - 4185
5. Kasey Kahne - 1236
5. Kyle Busch - 97.1

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.


MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Greg Biffle
Pete Pistone: Denny Hamlin
Rachael West: Tony Stewart

Top 30 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Pocono Raceway unless noted)

1. Kevin Harvick: Fifth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races with the COT; Equaled best finish (fourth) and led first laps (5) in 19 starts in June; Will return in the same car that he raced in June.

2. Jeff Gordon: 10th-best average finish (13.6) in the five races with the COT; Four-time winner; Leader in laps led with 879; 10.7 average finish in 35 starts; 32nd-place finish in June ended streak of three consecutive top 10s.

3. Denny Hamlin: Ninth-best average finish (13.2) in the five races with the COT; Coming off fourth win in nine starts; Swept both races in 2006; Leads all drivers with a 8.6 average finish.

4. Jimmie Johnson: Leads all drivers with a 6.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Has led 146 laps with the COT; Last of two wins came in 2004 when he swept both events; Won the pole for the 2008 August race; Has finished seventh or better on five of the last six races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 592) that he finished 37th with at Charlotte in May.

5. Kurt Busch: 19.6 average finish in the five races with the COT; Finished sixth in June; Has scored one win and six top 10s in nine starts with Penske; Also won in 2005 with Roush; Has led 371 laps and posted 10 top 10s in 19 starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 712) that he finished 19th with at Dover in May.

6. Kyle Busch: 23.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Coming off best finish (second) after leading 32 laps from the pole in June; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 277) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

7. Jeff Burton: Seventh-best average finish (12.6) in the five races with the COT; Finished seventh in June for 16th top 10 in 33 starts; Five of his top 10s have come with Richard Childress Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 317) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

8. Matt Kenseth: Sixth-best average finish (11.4) in the five races with the COT; Last of eight top 10s came in the June 2008 event in seventh; Finished 17th in June for worst finish since this event in 2005; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 644) that he finished 14th with at Michigan in June.

9. Tony Stewart: Third-best average finish (10.2) in the five races with the COT; 4.7 average finish in three starts with Stewart-Haas; Won the 2009 June race in his track debut with SHR; Posted one win and 14 top 10s in previous 20 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 515) that he finished 23rd with at Darlington in May.

10. Carl Edwards: Second-best average finish (8.4) in the five races with the COT; Second in laps led with the COT with 158; Last of two wins came in this event in 2008; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 639) that he finished 16th with at Charlotte in May.

11. Greg Biffle: Coming off second DNF in 15 starts with a 28th-place finish; 16.4 average finish in the five races with the COT; Last of two top 10s came in the 2006 June race; Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 696) that he finished third with last weekend at Indianapolis.

12. Clint Bowyer: 13.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Scored best finish in nine starts last year in this event in third; Finished ninth in June for fifth top 10; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 298) that he led 59 laps with in June after starting second.

13. Mark Martin: Coming off worst finish (29th) in the last 12 races after a crash; 14.6 average finish in the five races with the COT; Last top 10 in three starts with Hendrick Motorsports came in this event last year in seventh; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 550) that he led 10 laps and finished 11th with at Indianapolis last weekend.

14. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Finished fourth in track debut with Rick Hendrick in first COT event at track; 18.0 average finish in five events with team; Five top fives and six top 10s in 21 starts with an average finish of 17.5; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 584) that he finished 19th with at Pocono in June.

15. Ryan Newman: Eighth-best average finish (13.0) in the five races with the COT; 11.0 average finish in three starts with Stewart-Hass; Best finish with SHR came in the 2009 June race in fifth; Posted six top 10s in previous 14 starts with Penske Racing.

16. Jamie McMurray: Finished 36th in first track start with Chip Ganassi since 2005; Last top-10 finish (ninth-place) came with Roush racing in second event in 2008; 21.7 average finish in 15 starts with three top-10s; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1004) that he finished 24th with at Michigan in June.

17. Kasey Kahne: Won the 2008 June race from the pole after leading 69 laps; Finished fifth in this event last year after leading 35 laps; Fourth-best average finish (11.0) in the five races with the COT; Still holds track qualifying record, which was set in this event in 2004 during rookie season.

18. David Reutimann: 19.2 average finish in the five races with the COT; Finished third in the 2009 June race for only top 10 in seven starts.

19. Joey Logano: 21.0 average finish; 13th-place finish in June is best in three starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 278) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

20. Martin Truex Jr: 18.8 average finish in the five races with the COT; Two top 10s in nine starts came with the old car; Finished 25th in June in track debut with Michael Waltrip Racing.

21. AJ Allmendinger: Coming off first top 10 in six starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 294) that he finished 11th with at Michigan in June.

22. Juan Pablo Montoya: Coming off three consecutive top 10s; Second-place finish in this event last year is best in seven starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 910) that he finished eighth with at Pocono in June.

23. Paul Menard: Has yet to finish better than 15th in seven starts; Coming off best finish in 16th; Average finish is 27.4; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 653) that he finished 30th with at Darlington in May.

24. David Ragan: Only top 10 in seven starts came in this event in 2008 in fifth; 23.1 average finish; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 670) that he finished seventh with in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte.

25. Brad Keselowski: Finished 21st in June in track debut; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 733) in the Sunoco Red Cross 500.

26. Scott Speed: 25.0 average finish in three starts; Coming off best finish in 20th.

27. Marcos Ambrose: 23.3 average finish in three starts; Only finish inside the top 25 came in the 2009 June race in sixth.

28. Elliott Sadler: 21.5 average finish in 23 starts with two top 10s; Finished 25th, 24th and 31st in three starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Will return in same car (chassis No. 283) that he finished 21st with at Bristol in June.

29. Sam Hornish Jr: Best track on the circuit based on 18.6 average finish; 8.3 average finish in last three starts; Finished a NASCAR career-best fourth in this event last year.

30. Regan Smith: Coming off best finish in four starts in 18th; 26.0 average finish.

Photos

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  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1995 Brickyard Winner: Dale Earnhardt
  • 1996 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 1997 Brickyard Winner: Ricky Rudd
  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 1999 Brickyard Winner: Dale Jarrett
  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2005 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2006 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2007 Brickyard Winner: Tony Stewart
  • 2008 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2009 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
  • 2010 Brickyard Winner: Jamie McMurray
  • 2011 Brickyard Winner: Paul Menard
  • 2012 Brickyard Winner: Jimmie Johnson
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