The Tricky Triangle is back, for the second time this season, and it’s still as tricky as ever, especially in the first practice session of the weekend. There are several things that give it that moniker but the few that come to mind are the length of the straightaways with two of the longest, including the longest, on the Cup schedule and the turns are all different. The three turns on the circuit are banked at different angles with the first being tilted at 14 degrees, the second at eight degrees, and the final one at six degrees and they all have different radii making them their own individual challenges. All of those things combine to make this one of the toughest track to get balance in the car correct and find the right speed over the long-run, which is needed here.
There are 160 laps in the scheduled distance of the 400-mile race on Sunday and the three stages will be 50, 50, and 60 laps. That means that laps led dominators aren’t quite as important to focus on this week since there just isn’t as much of them to get as in other races. Position differential will be important to look for as well as though that have solid average finishes here in their history.
To help position differential the track has put down PJ1, traction compound, in the corners for the first time ever at Pocono. Only a handful of cars ventured into it at practice on the Cup side on Saturday and didn’t do so until midway through the second practice. The weather is expected to be hot in the region once more on Sunday and with the race starting in the afternoon, the practice times may not hold as much weight as they typically do, but should still carry some weight.
Please let me know if the following brand new table is helpful to you or not.
Points Scored by Starting Spot over Last Five July Races
Prop Bet Challenge
- Will Sunday’s winner lead the most laps? As tempting as it is to say yes, I’m going to say NO. It happened back in June when Kyle Busch led 79 laps in a winning effort, but I’m not seeing the same fortunes for the race’s winner today. I still think KB18 could win and he’s a likely candidate to lead the most laps, but I don’t think history will repeat itself.
- O/U 15.5 stage points for Kyle Busch? 15.5 is very high for stage points and I don’t think he reaches that point. I still love him in this race, but 16 stage points is a lot to ask for. I’m taking the UNDER.
- Which driver will finish higher? Clint Bowyer or Jimmie Johnson? JJ failed tech so he’s going to the back to start and Bowyer is starting 16th. Despite his bad luck as of late, Bowyer has shown great speed this weekend and hopefully finishes in the Top 10. I’ll take Bowyer with the higher finish.
- O/U 135.5 mph average race speed? Inject the OVER right into my veins!
- Toyota drivers have won the last four Pocono races. Will this streak continue? You’re basically going with any driver from Joe Gibbs Racing or Matt DiBenedetto (who has been great lately). I don’t think Matty D wins, but he’ll have a strong showing. I definitely do believe Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Martin Truex Jr., or Denny Hamlin could pull out a win today so I’m going to say YES.
- O/U 3.5 drivers will score 10.5 stage points? I’m going to take the UNDER because I think we’ll see a wide range of drivers getting stage points today. We’re getting to the point where drivers are going to be making moves and be a little more aggressive as they try to make the Top 16 for the playoffs so I don’t expect too many drivers getting double-digit stage points today.
- Does Kurt Busch finish in the top 5 on Sunday? I definitely think he’s top ten eligible, and even after he won Kentucky two weeks ago, I’m not too high on him this week. So I’ll say NO and that he finishes outside the top five.
- O/U 50.5 race points for Richard Childress Racing? Daniel Hemric is starting around P22, but after qualifying he might move up (or back for that matter). Austin Dillon will be starting outside the top 30. I don’t have much faith in either guy and 50.5 isn’t a terrible ask either. I’m going to go a little bold with this and take the OVER, but I’m not feeling great about it.
- Will the race winner hold the lead with 15 laps to go? I’m going to say NO, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Kyle Busch held on to the lead late if he gets there. Anything could happen in the last 15 laps so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few lead changes.
- O/U 45.5 race points for Martin Truex Jr.? I’m actually going to take the OVER here. MTJ got some bad luck with a blown engine in his last Pocono appearance so we fully expect him to bounce back and have a strong showing today.