NASCAR Picks for Pocono
Ryan Newman, #39 Quicken Loans/Haas Automation, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although Newman is a former winner at Pocono, his value as a fantasy option this weekend stems more from his consistency than his upside. After all, he has finished in the top 20 in his last 15 starts at the track and has finished in the top 15 in his last nine starts. Newman probably won't carry a fantasy team this weekend, but he should make a rock solid addition.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
Aside from a rough outing last August, Junior has been dialed in at Pocono recently. He has finished eighth or better in three of his last four starts at the track and has finished sixth and eighth in the last two June events. Junior doesn't really offer top-five potential this weekend, but he is a fairly safe bet to finish in or around the top 10.
Kyle Busch, #18 Mars Brands/Interstate Batteries, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
After finishes of third and second at Pocono in 2011, it appeared Busch had solved the tricky triangle-shaped track. However, he regressed in a big way last year, finishing 30th or worse in both starts. Overall, Busch has a 19.2 average finish at Pocono, and even though he has had a few great runs, it still isn't one of his best tracks.
Mark Martin, #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing [Yahoo Class B]
The veteran is still searching for his first career win at Pocono, but he has finished second on seven different occasions. One of those runner-up efforts came last June, but it was also his first top-five at the track since 2005. For the most part, Martin has been a top-15 option at Pocono in recent years, so fantasy owners will want to keep their expectations reasonable.
Joey Logano, #22 Shell-Pennzoil, Penske Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Logano is one of the toughest drivers to gauge for this weekend's race. On one hand, he is the defending winner of Sunday's event. On the other hand, his win last June is currently his only top-10 finish in eight starts at Pocono. Overall, Logano has managed four top-15s in his last six starts at the track, so he isn't the worst option in the world to gamble on.
Greg Biffle, #16 3M/Bondo, Roush Fenway Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he is a former winner at Pocono, Biffle's overall numbers at the track aren't overly impressive. Since the start of the 2005 season, he has managed just three top-10s in 16 starts at the track. During the stretch, his victory was his lone top-five finish. His strong finishes have just been too far and few between to consider him an elite fantasy option this weekend.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Despite a 20.8 average finish at Pocono for his career, Menard has some value as a potential sleeper pick this weekend. After all, he has ripped off five straight top-15 finishes at the track, and in his last three starts, he has compiled a 10.0 average finish. Recent history says fantasy owners can expect a serviceable effort out of Menard Sunday, and he might even sneak into the top 10.
Juan Montoya, #42 Target, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His last three starts at Pocono have been below average, but Montoya did manage four top-10s in a five race stretch at the track from 2009 to 2011. Throw in the fact that he actually has some momentum on his side after a second-place run at Dover last weekend, and Montoya could get the job done as a sleeper option.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
McMurray hasn't exactly left his mark on Pocono. In 20 career starts, he has managed just four top-10 finishes, and he has never cracked the top five. Granted, McMurray did finish 10th at Pocono last June, but his overall lack of upside seriously caps his fantasy value.
Marcos Ambrose, #9 Stanley/Dewalt Power Tools, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
The good news is that Ambrose had a solid year at Pocono in 2012, finishing 13th and 10th. The bad news is that he has a 23.3 average finish at the track overall and always seems to be inconsistent at every oval track. Ambrose does have some sleeper potential this weekend, but he is definitely one of the riskier options.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He has only made two starts at Pocono in his career, and he has yet to crack the top 15 at the track. That being said, he did improve from 28th to 18th between his first and second start at the track. Almirola really hasn't shown enough to warrant heavy fantasy consideration this weekend, but he is worth keeping an eye on to see if he continues to improve.
Jeff Burton, #31 Caterpillar/Cheerios, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Since finishing in the top 10 in both races at Pocono in 2010, Burton hasn't had much success at the track. He has finished 15th or worse in his last four starts, compiling an 18.5 average finish. At best, fantasy owners are probably looking at a top-20 finish out of Burton this weekend.
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