The first leg of this Pocono double-header is overwith, and the race on Saturday honestly turned out a lot like we expected, at least up front: Kevin Harvick finally got to victory lane at The Tricky Triangle, the Joe Gibbs Racing still have their advantage here, and track position still means the most here, as pole sitter Aric Almirola put up the most dominator points. Shew.
The finishing order from Saturday was used to set Sunday’s starting lineup. The top 20 were inverted and then 21st through 40th will start where they finished. Some drivers may be going to backup cars for this second race, which means they will have to drop to the rear on the pace laps, but they’ll still be scored from their official starting spot. Click here to see the starting lineup for Sunday’s Pocono 350.
Speed Report in 2020 After Pocono Saturday
The Stewart-Haas Fords all had a ton of speed on Saturday, and it was Aric Almirola that ranked P1 in Green Flag Speed, getting his first “win” in that category during the 2020 season. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5 in that category. Looking at the six most recent races, here are the top drivers in Green Flag Speed:
- Ryan Blaney (5.0 average rank)
- Kevin Harvick (5.7 average rank)
- Chase Elliott (7.8 average rank)
- Denny Hamlin (8.7 average rank)
- Martin Truex, Jr. (8.8 average rank)
You can click here to check out the updated Cheat Sheet on Green Flag Speed and see how every driver ranks in that category plus more.
DraftKings Strategy for Pocono Sunday
***NOTE: There are several drivers that will start from the rear due to backup car, engine changes, etc. THESE DRIVERS WILL STILL BE SCORED FROM THEIR ORIGINAL STARTING POSITION. As of 9:30 am ET those drivers are: Jones, Reddick, Logano, Elliott, Bowman, Houff, McLeod**
First let’s talk about what we learned on Saturday. First and foremost, in-race strategy plays the biggest factor here at Pocono. It’s hard to pass at The Tricky Triangle except for on restarts, and even harder to get around the leader under green. Also, a little luck with cautions doesn’t hurt either, although that is obviously impossible to predict.
As far as strategy for Pocono on Sunday, I’m focusing on two things when I build lineups: place differential and finish position. There is a ton of chalk in this race thanks to wrecks or mechanical issues that drivers had, plus the fact that the best cars are all starting outside of the top 10. I’m honestly not focusing on dominator points that much, and here’s why: Aric Almirola came out of nowhere (kind of) to dominate on Saturday, but it’s not likely that we see something like that on Sunday. Why? Because we have Ryan Preece ($5,800) and Austin Dillon ($6,000) on the front row.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Preece and/or Dillon could lead a handful of laps early, but I can’t envision them staying out front like Almirola did all race. Almirola is in a Stewart-Haas car. Preece and Dillon are running for JTG and Richard Childress, who are a big step down. Kurt Busch ($8,300) could step up there and lead a bunch early, but again, it’s hard to see him staying out front.
The chalk drivers in this race is kind of sickening. Let’s forget about the top 20 for now and just focus on the guys starting really far back. Joey Logano ($9,400), Tyler Reddick ($7,600), and Erik Jones ($7,400) all start 30th or worse, so right there is half of your cash lineup. And like I said before, I’m more focused on place differential than anything else, and here’s why: Erik Jones finishing 12th equals 58 DraftKings FPTS just for finish and place differential. Kurt Busch would have to win and probably lead for 30+ laps (at least) and get some fastest laps to put up the same score.
You can fade one, two, or all three of those guys, but at that point you’re just hoping for something to happen to them. They all have cars that can finish top 10. In cash games, I would roll with all three, but it’s worth a shot at fading one or two of them in Single Entry contests or 3-entry maxes, or something like that.
As far as overall building of lineups, I’m not opposed to the “5 stud, 1 dud” approach, where you load up on the top contenders and then reach down to the bottom of the barrel and complete the lineup with someone like Quin Houff ($5,100), who will start dead last but is usually good for about a 32nd-place finish if he doesn’t wreck.
GPP / Tournament Plays I Love for the Pocono 350 Sunday
Chase Elliott ($10,400) – Most people will gravitate toward Kevin Harvick ($10,700) or Denny Hamlin ($10,200) if they don’t roll with Kyle Busch ($11,000), and you can’t really blame them, but don’t forget about Chase Elliott here. He starts the furthest back of top 7 highest-priced drivers on the slate, and this #9 Chevrolet has been the fastest car all season long in terms of green flag speed. Elliott didn’t rank very high in that category here on Saturday but don’t forget that he had transmission issues most of the day. I like being overweight on Chase in GPPs on Sunday.
Alex Bowman ($8,500) – I’m not sure who’s worse right now at killing fantasy lineups: Alex Bowman or Erik Jones. The bad luck that this #88 team has is downright unbelievable, but you can’t say they don’t have speed. Even here on Saturday, Bowman ranked 7th in green flag speed and 9th in speed late in a run. He may end up being a highly owned driver on this slate, but his horrible track history and awful luck this season should scare plenty away. Still, Bowman can finish top 10 on Sunday, and with a 27th-place starting spot, that’s going to be a pretty big day in DraftKings.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800) – You can use DiBenedetto as a pivot off of Reddick/Jones, and I also like jumping down to grab Aric Almirola ($7,200), who suddenly has three straight top 5 finishes, in this price range, although since he’s starting back in 18th and costs less, he should garner a higher ownership percentage than Matty D. As far as the #21 Ford goes, this car had a bunch of speed on Saturday (9th in green flag speed) but the decision to take four tires near the end relegated DiBenedetto to a 13th-place finish. Still, he also ranked 7th in “late in a run” speed, and I could see this #21 Ford getting out front and leading a bit here on Sunday.
ADDED ON SUNDAY AT NOON: Brad Keselowski ($9,600) – He’s bound to go even lower-owned than yesterday, and while the Deuce was a disappointment on Saturday, as Brad Keselowski pointed out on Twitter, they had one of the best cars late in the day during that race. BK has a great record here at Pocono, and with how this #2 team likes to gamble, it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if they were sandbagging on Saturday to “save their stuff” for Sunday. I even tweeted that during the race Saturday. Keselowski is a great pivot in Single Entry contests and I don’t mind going 15-20% with him in big GPPs.
Pocono Saturday DraftKings Projections
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems. Also included are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||15||$9,800||48.6||07.2||8||4||$202|
|John H. Nemechek||24||$6,100||21.2||23.4||0||0||$288|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||4||$8,100||10.5||20.0||4||3||$771|