Sunday is the first of two stops at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, on the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series. It’s the Pocono 400 as Ryan Blaney looks to go back-to-back in the race. He won at +3000 last year as a relative unknown but is just +1000 for Sunday at MyBookie. Let’s see who’s favored in the NASCAR odds for this race.
2018 Pocono 400 Betting Preview
Did you know: We’ve seen 12 different winners in the past 13 races at @PoconoRaceway.
Can you name the only driver to visit Victory Lane twice in that span? pic.twitter.com/IHQwNOpm1G
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) May 31, 2018
When: Sunday 2 p.m. ET
Where: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
TV: Fox Sports 1
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Pocono Raceway is a 2.5-mile track and has three turns with differing degrees of banking and long straightaways. It’s nicknamed the “Tricky Triangle” for the challenge it creates for drivers and crew chiefs. The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race was in 1974 – won by Richard Petty, Dodge, 115.593 mph, on August 4, 1974.
The year 2012 marked the first season the NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono were scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to that, all NASCAR Cup Series races were 500 miles. There have been 80 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Pocono Raceway, one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since. The average starting position for the past 10 winners at Pocono has been 8.2, and only two of the past 10 have started outside the Top 10.
The first starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (16) than any other starting position at Pocono Raceway – a 20% winning percentage.
Thirty-seven drivers have won at Pocono Raceway, and 22 drivers have multiple wins, led by Jeff Gordon with six victories (1996, 1997, 1998, 2007, 2011 and 2012). Seven drivers have posted consecutive wins at Pocono Raceway, including three consecutive by Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and Spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and Spring 1987).
Over the last 13 Monster Energy Series races at Pocono Raceway, 12 drivers have visited Victory Lane, with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s season sweep in 2014 making him the only repeater within the 13-race span.
Last year, Ryan Blaney won his first NASCAR Cup Series event here in his 68th career race at the time. Blaney’s radio was busted and he had no communication with his team after about the first 40 laps. After a restart on Lap 148 of 160, Blaney grabbed the lead from polesitter Kyle Busch on Lap 151. He was dogged by Kevin Harvick for the final eight laps, but Blaney held off the 2014 series champion. Blaney became the 18th different driver to win for the Wood Brothers and the first since Trevor Bayne took the checkered flag in the 2011 Daytona 500. Then 23, Blaney also became the youngest first-time winner since Bayne, who was 20 years old when he won Daytona.
Harvick, whose engine survived a missed shift at the end of Stage 2, was second and Erik Jones finished a career-best third. Kurt Busch ran fourth, followed by Brad Keselowski, who started on the front row beside Kyle Busch on the final restart but lost positions through the first corner.
Pocono 400 Favorites
Harvick is the +250 favorite at Mybookie.ag. A cut tire ruined his night at Charlotte last Sunday; at the time he blew his tire he was in fourth place coming from the back of the pack where he had to start because he failed inspection and didn’t get to qualify. Harvick was the runner-up in both races here last year, and he has six Top 10s in eight starts at Pocono with Stewart-Haas Racing, including four second-place runs.
Kyle Busch is +300, Martin Truex Jr. +600, and Denny Hamlin +1000 with Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson. Busch sat on the pole for both of the Pocono races last year and picked up his first win at this track in the July race in 2017. Truex has eight Top 5s this year including a win at Fontana. He slipped to sixth in last year’s Pocono 400 before bouncing back with a third-place finish in the second race at this track in 2017 as part of his run to the Cup Series racing title.
Hamlin leads all active series drivers in wins at Pocono with four (2006 sweep, 2009 and 2010). Hamlin (24 starts) also leads all active series drivers in average starting position at Pocono with a 7.208. Hamlin (2006) and Carl Edwards (2005) are the only two active drivers to win at Pocono in their first appearances.
Over the last eight races here, Keselowski leads the series with six Top 5s and a 7.4 average finish. In fact, Keselowski has cracked the Top 5 in his last five starts at the track.
Could seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson be good value at +5000? JJ is having a rough season but did race his way to a fifth-place finish at Charlotte in a very encouraging step forward last week. He’s a three-time winner at Pocono.
Active drivers to win pole at Pocono: Kyle Busch (4), Jimmie Johnson (3), Denny Hamlin (3), Kurt Busch (2), Kasey Kahne (2), Ryan Newman (2), Joey Logano (2), Brad Keselowski (1), Kyle Larson (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Jamie McMurray (1)
Active drivers to win at Pocono: Denny Hamlin (4), Kurt Busch (3), Jimmie Johnson (3), Kasey Kahne (2), Kyle Busch (1), Brad Keselowski (1), Chris Buescher (1), Joey Logano (1), Martin Truex Jr. (1), Ryan Blaney (1), Ryan Newman (1), Matt Kenseth (1)
Expert 2018 Pocono 400 Prediction
This is basically Denny Hamlin’s home track. Take him for the victory.