EDIT: My Plays for this week are thrown out the window a bit because of the shit show that was inspection. Projections have been updated with the new starting positions.

We’re back at Pocono Raceway this weekend for our second and final stop of the 2019 season at “The Tricky Triangle.” And good news: there’s no rain in the forecast! This is, however, a dreaded impound race, so really there’s no need to get too wrapped up into building lineups and everything until after inspection is done on Sunday morning. I’m expecting that to wrap up sometime around noon Eastern, for the record. With this being an impound race, that means that any car that fails, that driver’s qualifying time will be disallowed and he will start and be scored from the rear. This obviously has huge implications with DraftKings so the projections below will be updated once the starting lineup is official.

Here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend:

DraftKings Strategy Tactics for Pocono 2

Kevin Harvick Kyle Busch 2018 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Pocono is a different animal in the NASCAR DFS game because of a few things. One, this is a big 2.5-mile track, so this opens up the opportunity for teams to play the strategy card at the Stage breaks. Think of road course races and how wacky those can get. The same thing happens at Pocono. Another thing that differentiates “The Tricky Triangle” from other tracks is that the race is only 160 laps. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that that itself decreases the number of dominator points available, thus finishing position and place differential get a bit of a boost this week–especially compared to New Hampshire last weekend, which had almost double the laps.

And as far as people that finish up front at Pocono, it’s usually the guys that start up front. The top 6 qualifiers back in June all finished 9th or better, and five of them finished 6th or better. So, in other words, don’t be afraid to build your lineups with two or three drivers–maybe even more–starting inside the top 10. Looking back at the July race here last season, seven of the top 10 finishers started there as well.

Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick?

This is going to be the main question for most people unless they really go with an off-the-wall DraftKings lineup on Sunday, and it’s a tough one. The Fantasy Racing Online Algorithm has Kyle Busch ($12,300) as the heavy favorite for Sunday’s race at Pocono, but at the same time, it has Kevin Harvick ($11,700) ranked right there in second. This has been a great track for both of these drivers, and what it’s going to come down to is how the strategies in this race play out. With how important track position is at Pocono, Harvick is in the cat bird’s seat to pick up a good chunk of dominator points early–at least until the first Stage break. That’s where things usually get screwy at Pocono.

Head-to-head, I think Kyle Busch has the superior car over Kevin Harvick, but the latter has the track position and is going to be super hard to pass. But as we saw here back in June, there are going to be different strategies with the Stage breaks, and that works against Harvick. So my recommendation would be to play Harvick heavier in cash games and Kyle Busch heavier in GPPs. I think with how important track position is at Pocono, many DraftKings players are going to automatically plug Harvick into their lineups and not think twice, when in reality, Kyle Busch has as good, if not better dominator potential, and he also has some room for place differential as well. You’re not able to fit both of them on to a halfway decent roster this week, and most people will take the $600 discount with Harvick, too.

GPP Drivers I Love for the Gander RV 400

Chris Buscher Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Kurt Busch ($8,700) – Give me Kurt Busch as an off-sequence pick this weekend. Just looking at the DraftKings pricing structure for this second Pocono race, Kurt is sandwiched between a bunch of guys that have a lot of window shopping appeal with place differential: Chase Elliott (scored from 23rd), Alex Bowman (15th), Ryan Blaney (20th), Clint Bowyer (16th), and Kyle Larson (29th). Kurt also has Erik Jones ($8,300) sitting close to him (at a discount), who’s getting a lot of attention this week as a potential race winner. My point being? I envision Kurt being very low-owned in GPPs this weekend, so I like being overweight there. I’m not talking a huge amount of exposure, but somewhere around 15% would be nice. Here’s the thing: Kurt Busch is a three-time winner at Pocono and he he qualified 9th despite posting the 2nd-fastest lap in Happy Hour on Saturday. He already has a win in the bag and can gamble this weekend to try and get another one. All I’m saying is he’s a sleeper, and decently priced in DraftKings.

Chris Buescher ($7,800) – Chris Buescher had a horrible qualifying effort on Saturday and will start from back in 28th (*pre-inspection) when the Gander RV 400 goes green. But that should be music to your ears because you have one of the most reliable place differential drivers starting way back in the pack. As I mentioned in my Slingshot picks article this weekend, Buescher is averaging +9.1 spots per race over the last nine Cup Series events overall, and looking back at the last time we were at Pocono, he did a little better, finishing 14th after starting back in 24th. His salary is a bit high this week, but that should help keep his ownership down. Don’t forget, Buescher has four finishes of 19th or better in his last six Pocono starts, and that was before he and his team turned things up a notch.

William Byron ($7,100) – I’m all in on Willy B this weekend. The #24 and #48 Hendrick Chevrolets have both had really good speed all weekend long, and I like how Byron and his team have been running lately. Don’t forget, he actually had a chance to contend for the win two weeks ago at Kentucky if it wasn’t for that horseshit penalty. Before that, Byron had four top 10s in the previous six races, and then he rebounded from Kentucky with a 12th-place finish at New Hampshire last week, not exactly the easiest track for a young driver. Here at Pocono, Byron has back-to-back top 10 finishes to his credit and has also led 10+ laps in each of the last two races. He’s slated to start 8th (pre-inspection) for this weekend’s Gander RV 400 and I actually think he has a shot at a legitimate top 5 in the end. The Algorithm Predicted Finishes agrees.

Pocono Gander RV 400 DraftKings Projections

You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverStarting PositionDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedDollar Per FPT
Kyle Busch5$12,30061.502.661$200
William Byron31$7,10053.911.25$132
Kevin Harvick1$11,70049.104.449$239
Martin Truex Jr8$10,50046.203.87$228
Jimmie Johnson32$7,60045.715.42$166
Ryan Blaney30$9,10045.614.20$200
Erik Jones4$8,30045.403.815$183
Brad Keselowski11$11,10039.608.24$280
Denny Hamlin9$10,20039.406.80$259
Kurt Busch6$8,70038.806.03$225
Joey Logano2$9,80036.506.010$268
Chase Elliott18$9,50036.412.80$261
Clint Bowyer13$8,90036.210.40$246
Kyle Larson23$8,50036.215.40$235
Chris Buescher33$7,40033.421.80$222
Austin Dillon34$7,30033.222.40$220
Alex Bowman12$9,30032.012.00$291
Michael McDowell35$5,70030.624.20$186
Daniel Suarez7$7,80029.810.60$262
Ryan Newman19$8,00029.416.80$272
Aric Almirola3$8,10026.810.64$302
Daniel Hemric17$6,30024.218.40$260
Paul Menard16$6,80023.618.20$288
Corey Lajoie36$5,40020.829.60$260
Ryan Preece20$6,60020.022.00$330
Matt DiBenedetto10$6,40019.617.20$327
Bubba Wallace21$6,20019.422.80$320
Ross Chastain37$5,50019.031.00$289
Ricky Stenhouse Jr14$7,00018.020.00$389
Ty Dillon25$6,00017.425.80$345
Reed Sorenson38$5,10016.432.80$311
David Ragan15$5,30010.224.40$520
Matt Tifft22$5,80007.629.20$763
BJ McLeod27$4,80006.232.40$774
Quin Houff28$5,00006.033.00$833
Landon Cassill24$5,20005.231.40$1,000
Josh Bilicki26$4,90004.033.00$1,225
Austin Theriault29$4,70003.834.60$1,237
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.