Detailed driver notes and statistics to help set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.
Who’s HOT at Pocono
- Brad Keselowski is the only driver that has finished in the top five in each of the last five races.
- Kevin Harvick has finished ninth or better in six of the last seven races, including four runner-up finishes.
- Kyle Busch has finished in the top 10 and combined to lead 175 laps in his last three starts, including a win last July.
- Kurt Busch has posted a 7.0 average finish in the last four races, including a win in this event in 2016
- Martin Truex Jr., who finished sixth and third last season, won the June 2015 race and has combined to lead 155 laps in his last six starts.
- Ryan Blaney, who will make his first track start with Team Penske, is the defending race winner.
- Erik Jones finished in the top 10 in the two races last year during his rookie season.
Keep an Eye On at Pocono
- Chase Elliott has finished in the top 10 in three of his four starts at Pocono.
- A broken drive shaft in the 2017 summer Pocono race relegated Kyle Larson to a 33rd-place finish, snapping a streak of seven finishes of 12th or better.
- Denny Hamlin is a four-time winner at Pocono, but has not won since the track was repaved in 2012. However, he’s posted a 7.7 average finish in his last three starts and has finished seventh or better in the last three races in 2018.
- Clint Bowyer (12.9) and Ryan Newman (13.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have competed in all 12 races since Pocono was repaved.
- Joey Logano (8.6), Aric Almirola (11.4) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12.8) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the last five races this season.
- Daniel Suarez posted an 11.0 average finish in his rookie season at Pocono.
- Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray were running in the top 10 at Pocono in June last year but were sidelined due to brake issues on lap 96. Both drivers are coming off finishes of fifth and sixth, respectively, at Charlotte.
Notes: Teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series will run the same Goodyear tire set-up this weekend. The right-side is the same one used last year and the left-side will be new, featuring a construction update to align it with what is run at other speedways…Full-time Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Paul Menard each will be competing in both races…Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer will make his second Cup start in the No. 51…The pole position has produced the most race winners (16) at Pocono with Kyle Busch the last to win from the No. 1 spot…Fifty-nine percent of the race winners have come from a top-five starting spot…Busch also led the most laps (174) in the two races last season at Pocono…Two of the last three races at Pocono have produced a first-time Cup winner with Ryan Blaney being the most recent in this event last year…Brad Keselowski has the best average finish (8.6) among drivers that have competed in all 12 races since Pocono was repaved…In 2017, there were 14 pit road speeding penalties at Pocono…Hendrick Motorsports leads all organizations with 17 Pocono wins.
*Best Average Finish at Pocono
|Last # of Races||Driver||Average Finish|
|Two Races||Kevin Harvick||2.0|
|Four Races||Brad Keselowski||3.8|
|Six Races||Brad Keselowski||5.7|
|Eight Races||Brad Keselowski||7.4|
|Ten Races||Brad Keselowski||8.1|
* – The best average finish is based off a driver entered in the race who has competed in EVERY race during that time span.
Laps Led Leaders at Pocono
|Last # of Races||Driver||Laps Led|
|Two Races||Kyle Busch||174|
|Four Races||Kyle Busch||178|
|Six Races||Kyle Busch||197|
|Eight Races||Kyle Busch||197|
|Ten Races||Kyle Busch||197|
Click Here to view all laps led leaders at Pocono over the past 10 races.
Pocono Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2017, 26 Races)
|Average Running Pos.||Laps in Top 15|
|1. Erik Jones – 8.3||1. Kurt Busch – 3,340|
|2. Chase Elliott – 10.1||2. Jimmie Johnson – 3,269|
|3. Denny Hamlin – 10.8||3. Denny Hamlin – 3,251|
|4. Kurt Busch – 10.9||4. Ryan Newman – 3,205|
|5. Daniel Suarez – 11.7||5. Kyle Busch – 3,021|
|Fastest Laps Run||Driver Rating|
|1. Denny Hamlin – 455||1. Erik Jones – 106.5|
|2. Kurt Busch – 365||2. Denny Hamlin – 105.0|
|3. Kasey Kahne – 317||3. Kurt Busch – 104.5|
|4. Jimmie Johnson – 287||4. Jimmie Johnson – 101.6|
|5. Kyle Busch – 196||5. Chase Elliott – 99.3|
Top 10 Stage 1 &2 Points Earned Among Active Drivers at Pocono
|Martin Truex Jr.||17|
2017 June Pocono Stage Finishes
|Stage 1||Stage 2|
|1. Kyle Busch||1. Kyle Larson|
|2. Kevin Harvick||2. Kyle Busch|
|3. Brad Keselowski||3. Martin Truex Jr.|
|4. Kyle Larson||4. Kevin Harvick|
|5. Jimmie Johnson||5. Chase Elliott|
|6. Chase Elliott||6. Erik Jones|
|7. Kurt Busch||7. Brad Keselowski|
|8. Matt Kenseth||8. Kurt Busch|
|9. Jamie McMurray||9. Kasey Kahne|
|10. Austin Dillon||10. Matt Kenseth|
Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Bubba Wallace has made one Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Pocono Raceway. That start, which was his first career Cup Series start, came last year in this event when he subbed for the injured Aric Almirola and finished 26th. Wallace also made two starts each in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series at the 2.5-mile track with his best results coming in the truck with a pair of top 10s. William Byron, who currently leads the rookie standings by two points over Wallace, will be making his first Cup start at Pocono. Byron did finish eighth in the ARCA race in 2016 and then followed that up with a win in the Truck Series. He was 12th last season in his lone Xfinity start at the track.
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
Tyler Burnett: Kyle Busch
Driver Notes – Ordered by Average Finish (Top 15) in the Last Five Races at Pocono
Brad Keselowski is the only driver that has finished in the top five in each of the last five races at Pocono. Keselowski, who won the summer race in 2011, combined to lead 17 laps and finished fifth in both races last season. He ranked second in overall stage points earned at Pocono in 2017.
Erik Jones posted a 5.5 average finish in his rookie year in the two races at Pocono last season. He led 20 laps and finished third in this event in 2017. Pocono is one of three tracks on the schedule where he has multiple top 10s.
Matt Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in five of his last six starts at Pocono, including a win in the 2015 summer race. All of those starts came with Joe Gibbs Racing and this weekend he will be making his first start at the track with Roush Fenway Racing since 2012. Kenseth is coming off his best finish in two starts this season with RFR, 17th in the Coca-Cola 600.
Daniel Suarez posted an 11.0 average finish in his rookie year in the two races at Pocono last season. Suarez finished seventh in the summer race for one of his 16 career top 10s in his young Monster Energy Cup Series career.
Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 15 in the last four races at Pocono with his best finishes – and only top 10s – in that span coming in the summer race. Hamlin, who captured his last of four wins at Pocono in this event in 2010, has finished seventh or better in the last three races of the 2018 season.
Kevin Harvick has yet to win at Pocono – one of two tracks on the schedule where he’s winless – but has come close on several occasions, finishing second four times. Two those runner-up finishes came in both races last season. Harvick will return in the same chassis (No. 1041) that he raced last season at Pocono and also won with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.
Kurt Busch finished fourth last year in this event for his third straight top 10 at Pocono that started with a win in this event in 2016 with Stewart-Haas Racing. The win was Busch’s third victory in 33 starts. Busch comes into the weekend with the second-best average finish (6.8) in the last five races of the season.
Ryan Blaney scored the win in this event last season driving for the Wood Brothers. The win was his second top 10 in four starts at Pocono. This weekend, Blaney will make his first track start with Team Penske. Blaney will be looking to pick up his seventh top 10 of the season on Sunday after consecutive finishes of 37th (accident) and 36th (engine) in the last two races.
Chase Elliott finished in the top 10 in both events lasts season at Pocono. He finished fourth in this event in 2016 and has three top 10s in four overall starts. Elliott has finished 12th or better in the last five races this season and has the third best average finish (8.0) among all drivers in that span.
Kyle Larson finished seventh in this event last year after winning Stage 2. A broken drive shaft in the summer race relegated him to a 33rd-place finish, snapping a streak of seven finishes of 12th or better. Larson ranked fourth in overall stage points earned at Pocono in 2017.
Kyle Busch won Stage 1, led 100 laps and was passed for the lead with nine laps to go in this event last year. A decision to stay out on older tires relegated him to a ninth-place finish. Busch led 74 laps in the summer race and captured his first Pocono win for his third straight top 10 there. He led the series with 29 stage points earned in the two races in 2017.
Ryan Newman has finished in the top 15 in the last four races at Pocono. His last of 14 top 10s came in 2014. Newman won at Pocono early in his career – 2003 July race – when he was driving for Team Penske.
Clint Bowyer posted an 11.5 average finish last season in his first two Pocono starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. He won Stage 2 and finished sixth in the July race. In his previous 22 starts prior to joining SHR, Bowyer recorded nine top 10s.
AJ Allmendinger scored his last of two top 10s in 20 starts at Pocono in the 2015 summer race. Last season, Allmendinger posted a 22.5 average finish in the two races to raise his average finish in the last five Pocono races to 16.4.
Martin Truex Jr. started second and posted an average finish 4.5 in the two races last season at Pocono. He won this event in 2015 after leading 97 laps. Truex comes into the weekend with the best average finish (2.7) in the last three races of the season.