ADAM ANSELL’S TOP 25 FOR POCONO
1. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson let a win slip through his fingers last weekend in Indy, but still finished second and led a race-high 73 laps. In 23 starts at Pocono Raceway, Johnson has three wins (2004 sweep, 2013), 10 Top 5s, 16 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 8.7. He led 128 of 160 laps in his near flawless win back in June. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Johnson ranks second in Driver Rating (110.0), Average Running Position (9.3), Average Green Flag Speed (161.266 mph) and Quality Passes (741). He leads all drivers in Laps in the Top 15 (2,536). The No.48 ride remains a step above the field on a week-to-week basis and that won’t change at a track he where absolutely dominated two months ago.
2. Kurt Busch: Busch finished 14th at the Brickyard despite running at an ARP of 9.3. In 24 Pocono starts, Busch has two wins (2005, 2007), nine Top 5s, 13 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 15.8. He finished seventh in the June event. He’s led at least two laps in seven of his last nine starts. Busch ranks third in DR (103.8) and fourth in ARP (10.9). He’s overdue for a win and Fantasy owners shouldn’t be surprised if it happens this weekend. He should be plugged into all Salary Cap format lineups.
3. Tony Stewart: Stewart ran all 160 of his Laps in the Top 15 at Indy and ultimately finished fourth. In 29 Pocono starts, Stewart has two wins (2003, 2009), 12 Top 5s, 21 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 11.0. Smoke logged his third-straight Top 5 in the June race (fourth-place). He’s led at least one lap in two of his last six starts. Stewart ranks fifth in DR (98.8) and sixth in ARP (12.0). He has two Top 5s in his last three Cup starts and will post a fourth-straight Top 5 at Pocono. He needs to be in all Tiered/Grouping format lineups.
4. Kyle Busch: Busch finished 10th at the Brickyard. In 17 starts at PR, Busch has four Top 5s, six Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 18.4. He finished sixth in the June race. He’s led at least two laps in three of his last seven starts. Busch ranks 16th in DR (85.9) and 17th in ARP (15.8). He’s finished outside the Top 12 just once in his last eight Cup starts, and that kind of consistency has been the missing piece of a possible championship puzzle. Fantasy owners can safely roll with Busch in all formats.
5. Greg Biffle: Biffle failed to log a Top 10 for the fourth-straight race, finishing 24th at Indy. In 21 starts at Pocono, Biffle has one win (2010), three Top 5s and five Top 10s with an Average Finish of 16.7. He posted a second-place finish in the June event. He’s led at least one lap in two of his last four starts. Biffle ranks 13th in DR (87.8) and 10thin ARP (14.4). His Top 10-less streak heading into the June Pocono event was at six, proving he can get back on track at this site. He will come at a nice value in Tiered/Grouping formats.
6. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin finished 18th last week at Indy. In 15 starts at Pocono Raceway, Hamlin has four wins (2006 sweep, 2009-10), eight Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 10.5. He put up an eighth-place performance back in June. He’s led at least three laps in seven of his last eight starts. Hamlin leads all competitors in DR (113.8), ARP (9.1), Laps Led (663), Fastest Laps Run (434) and Average Green Flag Speed (161.419 mph). His last Top 10 of 2013 came in June at Pocono. This is arguably his best track, and he has been so bad lately his value will be through the roof. He’s a high risk-high reward play in all formats.
7. Kasey Kahne: Kahne posted his first Top 5 (third at Indy) since the May race at Charlotte. In 19 starts at Pocono, Kahne has one win (2008), four Top 5s, six Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 17.8. He encountered some bad luck in the June race, finishing 36th. He led one lap in the August 2012 race. Kahne ranks 11th in DR (89.6) and 15th in ARP (15.2). Despite the mediocre stats, Pocono is one of his better tracks and the No. 5 will come at a nice value in Tiered/Grouping formats.
8. Jeff Gordon: Gordon logged his fourth Top 10 in his last five Cup starts, finishing seventh at Indianapolis. In 41 PR starts, Gordon has six wins (1996, 1997), 18 Top 5s, 28 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 10.2. He finished 12th in the June event. He’s led at least eight laps in three of his last six starts. Gordon ranks fourth in DR (100.0) and third in ARP (10.5). He’s still on the Chase bubble and in desperate need of a win, meaning the No. 24 will be more aggressive than usual.
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth at Indy. In 27 Pocono starts, Earnhardt Jr. has six Top 5s, 10 Top 10s and one pole with an Average Finish of 16.7. He posted a third-place finish in June. He’s led at least 17 laps in two of his last three starts. Junior ranks 12th in DR (88.0) and 14th in ARP (15.1). Fantasy owners should expect a solid, yet unspectacular race from the No. 88 driver. He’ll post a Top 10, but isn’t likely to lead any laps. He’s a recommended start for Fantasy owners that are protecting leads.
10. Ryan Newman: Newman won his first race of 2013, leading a season-high 45 laps at his home track in Indianapolis. In 23 starts at Pocono, Newman has one win (2003), eight Top 5s, 11 Top 10s and two poles with an Average Finish of 12.0. He led 19 laps and finished fifth in the June event. Newman ranks seventh in DR (95.4) and fifth in ARP (11.2). He’s 16th in the standings and will need a hot finish to make the playoffs. Fantasy owners should expect very aggressive racing from Newman this weekend.
11. Brad Keselowski: One win (2011) and two Top 5s with an Average Finish of 14.7 in seven Pocono starts. 82.7 DR.
12. Joey Logano: One win (2012), two Top 5s and two poles with an Average Finish of 16.6 in nine starts at PR. 84.5 DR.
13. Carl Edwards: Two wins (), five Top 5s and eight Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.5 in 17 starts at the site. 97.8 DR.
14. Matt Kenseth: Three Top 5s and 10 Top 10s with an Average Finish of 14.7 in 27 starts at PR. 90.7 DR.
15. Kevin Harvick: Five Top 5s and nine Top 10s with an Average Finish of 13.9 in 25 appearances at Pocono. 90.2 DR.
16. Martin Truex Jr. 81.7 DR.
17. Mark Martin: 93.1.
18. Juan Pablo Montoya: 79.0.
19. Clint Bowyer: 80.0.
20. Jamie McMurray: 70.5.
21. Aric Almirola
22. Rick Stenhouse Jr.
23. Paul Menard
24. Marcos Ambrose
25. Jeff Burton
1. Casey Mears: Finished fourth in the June 2006 race and led two laps. Led one lap in the July 2011 event.
2. A.J. Allmendinger: Finished 10th in the June 2010 event at Pocono.
2013 NASCAR.com Fantasy Live Lineup for Pocono (Salary Cap)
Jimmie Johnson $27.75
Kyle Busch $27.25
Kurt Busch $19.75
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. $13.25
A.J. Allmendinger $ 9.50
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