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Driver Recommendations for the Pocono 500 at the Pocono Raceway

Posted by chadmusselman on June 1, 2009

Pocono Raceway, the big triangle, will host this Sunday’s race. This will be the first of 6 races this season broadcasted by TNT. Picking the chaser and alternate chaser was a difficult task this week. Several of guys that made the chase last year run well here, but I managed to whittle the list down to the two I think will do the best.

Recommendations this week:

Chaser: Denny Hamlin
Denny has had a tough stretch of races. He hasn’t finished in the top ten since the 8th race back in Phoenix. Pocono is the track that should cure his ill. He’s been great at this track scoring 2 of his 4 career victories and averaging a 6.2 place finish, best among active drivers. His only finish out of the top ten was last fall when he finished 23rd. With his comfort level up, he could get his 3rd career win at the track.

Alternate Chaser: Tony Stewart
The first year driver/owner finds himself in first place in the point standings! Who would have seriously thought he could do this well? He’s had some good runs, but that first win of the season has been elusive. Over the past 4 at Pocono he’s been in the top ten 3 times. He does have a win along with 14 top tens in 20 career races, so like Denny Hamlin, he can run with anyone here.

Mark Martin
Mark has 4 consecutive top ten finishes at Pocono and a career average finish of 10.7 (4th best). In 44 career races he doesn’t have a win, but does have 19 top fives and 31 top tens. Very impressive, and to top it off he’s got the 6th best average finish over the past 5 races this season with a 13.4 average finish.

Ryan Newman
No one is even close to being as hot as Ryan right now. He’s averaging better than a 6th place finish over the past 5 races. (2nd best is Tony with a 9.8 average finish.) Sure, Ryan only finishes in the top ten in about ½ the races here, but he didn’t score a top ten at all last year, so he’s due. The fact that Ryan is on such a hot streak this year just adds to the reason to put him on your team this week. For the record he does have a win, 5 top fives, and 6 top tens in 14 career races.

Dark Horse: Joey Logano
I have to admit, I’m not a Joey Logano fan and thought he was being anointed “The Greatest Thing” waaaay before it was due. He’s still not even close to being at that level, but he has seemed to figure something out. Through the first 8 races his best finish was 13th and second best finish was 21st; not good at all, and close to being out of the top 35 in points. Over the past 5 races he’s averaged a 13.4 pace finish and moved up from 35th in points to 23rd. Not too bad. Maybe it’s time for him to get his 4th career top ten finish.


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