The NASCAR Cup Series is pulling double duty this weekend at Pocono Raceway with TWO races at “The Tricky Triangle,” one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The first race will be 325 miles in length (130 laps) while Sunday’s event will be 350 miles in length (140 laps). For those doing the math, that means Pocono is a 2.5-mile track. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of relevant data from this season to work with this weekend, as the closest track to Pocono is Indianapolis, and the Cup Series is not racing at that big oval anymore. To contend at “The Tricky Triangle,” a car needs to have a very strong engine, and over the last few years here, Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas have been the top teams at Pocono. Will that continue this weekend, or will their slump continue?

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Ross Chastain Clover paint scheme Nashville Superspeedway 2021
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kevin Harvick – With the top 3 drivers in the algorithm this weekend, it basically says you can throw a blanket over them because they’re that close in the power index–and you can maybe even add William Byron into that mix. But of those four drivers, you have to think Kevin Harvick is the least stable. Yes, we saw Stewart-Haas run really well at Nashville last weekend, but one good race *with practice* doesn’t mean an organization has turned things around. Harvick’s record here at Pocono is impeccable, though, so it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if he challenged for the win; in addition to finishing 1st and 2nd in the two races here last year, “Happy” has finished 4th or better in seven of the last nine races at “The Tricky Triangle,” with the only exception finishes being a 6th and a 22nd.

Ross Chastain– The algorithm has Ross Chastain predicted to finish 20th here on Saturday, but there is so much more potential there. RotoDoc and I talked about Chastain extensively in our brand new podcast, Stacking Dennys, this week, so make sure you listen to that (click here). But here’s a few reasons to like Chastain this weekend: this #42 team is running really well. In addition to the 2nd-place finish at Nashville last weekend, Chastain has a 7th (Sonoma) and a 4th (COTA) in the last month, and has ended up 16th or better in eight of the last nine points-paying Cup races. As far as track history here at Pocono, Ross has been in garbage cars for all four of his Cup Series starts here–part of the reason why the algorithm is down on him–but he did run 24th and 28th in those Premium Motorsports Chevys, which is quite a bit better than normal for that car. In the Xfinity Series, Chastain finished 2nd at Pocono last season, and in the Truck Series, he’s finished 6th and 1st in his last two starts at this track.

Pocono Organics CBD 325 (Saturday) Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

1.Hamlin, Denny38.82
2.Larson, Kyle38.33
3.Harvick, Kevin38.24
4.Byron, William37.45
5.Busch, Kyle36.98
6.Logano, Joey33.96
7.Bowman, Alex33.15
8.Elliott, Chase30.82
9.Truex, Jr., Martin30.63
10.Keselowski, Brad27.46
11.Busch, Kurt25.15
12.Blaney, Ryan25.12
13.Dillon, Austin22.22
14.Bell, Christopher19.84
15.DiBenedetto, Matt16.84
16.Reddick, Tyler14.79
17.Jones, Erik12.97
18.Buescher, Chris12.07
19.Almirola, Aric08.81
20.Chastain, Ross06.60
21.Newman, Ryan-03.12
22.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-06.86
23.Briscoe, Chase-07.81
24.Suarez, Daniel-12.93
25.Wallace, Bubba-15.37
26.Custer, Cole-20.90
27.Preece, Ryan-21.30
28.LaJoie, Corey-27.42
29.McDowell, Michael-30.68
30.Alfredo, Anthony-31.83
31.Haley, Justin-34.54
32.Smithley, Garrett-41.56
33.Ware, Cody-42.39
34.Houff, Quin-42.82
35.McLeod, BJ-42.94
36.Bilicki, Josh-44.37
37.Davison, James-46.05
38.Hill, Timmy-50.95
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.