Nascar heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend, as some drivers will appear in two races. The big one goes down on Sunday with the “We Paint Winners” Axalta 400, however.
Heading into Sunday, Martin Truex Jr. is the leading favorite, and it’s tough to deny him that spot after impressively winning last weekend. He dominated last week and even won at Pocono last June.
Truex will attempt to make it two in a row against a stacked field, per usual. Let’s take a look at who else stands a chance as we get closer to a pick for this week’s big Nascar race:
Truex just won the last big race and won here last year, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he could do it again. Needless to say, no one is too shocked he’s the favorite and he stands a good chance to win.
Harvick comes in second after finishing in second place here last summer, while he’s fared well at Pocono in past races. Harvick only has one win on the year, but he has an alarming 10 top-10 runs and has cracked the top-5 six times. He’ll be a legit threat to win his second race of the season this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson is as big of a threat as ever, having won the Axalta 400 twice before, most recently in 2013. He already has two wins on the year and seven top-10 runs, so he’s been running well and could easily notch his third win of the year – which could tie Kyle Busch for Nascar’s lead.
Speaking of Busch, he leads the way with those three wins, plus he’s just been red hot in general with 9 runs inside the top-5. He hasn’t won at the Axalta 400 yet, though, so he could be gearing up for his first win at this event.
You really can’t rule out any of the top contenders, of course, and there’s a good reason why the odds are so tight. Even Kenseth, who ends our top favorites list, is a fair bet, having placed in the top-18 in 15 of his last 19 races. He even won at this track in another event last year.
There are not a ton of awesome sleepers beyond the top favorites, so there isn’t a whole lot to work with. You have to factor in odds and talent here, and this five-pack could have a shot at making some noise.
None of these guys have won here before, but Larson specifically has run very well at Pocono the last two years. He hasn’t had a particularly great year, but he has finished inside the top-5 twice and three finishes inside the top-10. He’s probably the top sleeper to watch here, but we should also keep an eye on Newman and Biffle.
Both Newman and Biffle have run well at Pocono lately, while Newman specifically has finished inside the top-18 in 17 of his last runs at Pocono. Biffle has enjoyed the better overall seasons, cracking the top-20 seven times. Newman is the only of the two to get inside the top-10 on the year, though, doing so four times.
Bowyer and Menard aren’t great bets, but both have had a couple good runs this year and have interesting odds that could make them worth the plunge.
There is not a lot of optimism here, as Patrick has never won a Nascar race and on the year boasts zero top-10 finishes. She’s hovered around the top-20 a bit, though, and there is a first for everyone. If she were to surprise with a big win here, a modest $100 bet could bring home a ridiculous $50,000.
Burton is one step further, albeit even less likely, and he joins seven others with crazy +100000 odds. None of those drivers have a great case, but could be worth a modest bet due to the insane upside.
It’s worth noting that a Chevy car has won in each of the last three Axalta races, as well as five of the last seven. The other two times a Toyota car won. That should never sway you one way or the other, but it’s worth pointing out.
Aside from that, we feel inclined to go with a first-timer here, especially since Kyle Busch has been amazing and he’s never won this event yet. He’s led the third most laps on the season and actually came really close to nabbing his first win at Pocono last year. Look for him to finally make it happen this weekend.
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