Red heart-shaped bathtubs are not the reason for 43 NASCAR drivers to gather in the Poconos this afternoon. They’re here to tackle the 2.5-mile triangle known as Pocono Raceway.
If you want to pick a winner go for someone among the top four starters because 37 of 62 races here have been won from those spots. Thirteen pole sitters have won followed by nine from outside the pole, eight from third and seven from the fourth.
Points leader Tony Stewart was placed at the pole after qualifying was rained out but don’t pick Smoke- he crashed in practice and will start at the back of the field where nobody has ever won at Pocono. In fact the worst starting spot to produce a winner was 29th won by Carl Edwards.
There are some tricky matchups listed on Sportsbook.com but I’m going to be conservative today considering I was only 1-3 in the Coca Cola 600.
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook.com.
Jeff Gordon (-120) vs Tony Stewart (-110)
The only way Tony can beat Jeffie is if Gordon’s car gets knocked out and Stewart doesn’t. It’s such a cherry pick I feel guilty. But I have no shame so I say pick Jeff.
Ryan Newman (-150) vs Matt Kenseth (+120)
Newman is enjoying a comeback season after some frustrating years. His teammate and owner Tony Stewart has had a lot to do with it and Newman is showing his gratitude with his climb to fifth in the points standings. Of course Matt is no slouch this year either, sitting eighth. But Ryan’ practice speeds are way up there so I say pick Newman.
Denny Hamlin (-180) vs Tony Stewart (+150)
Hamlin has also been very speedy in practice but it wouldn’t matter if he took a slow boat to China because I don’t see Tony moving up that many spots on this track. I’m picking the low hanging fruit when I say Hamlin will finish ahead of Stewart.
Kevin Harvick (-125) vs Juan Pablo Montoya (-105)
Harvick is having a bad year while Montoya is only three spots away from being in the Chase. Consistency wins the day here today as JP will win this matchup.
Two weeks ago, 1-3; season, 21-21.