Denny Hamlin leads picks at Pocono

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 06: Denny Hamlin drives of the  FedEx Freight Toyota during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 at Pocono Raceway on June 6, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

Four wins in nine starts at a track are numbers no one cay stay away from. Denny Hamlin has those numbers at Pocono making him the obvious favorite this coming weekend. Hamlin has won the last two Sprint Cup races at the triangle track in addition to a sweep in his rookie season of 2006. In addition to his four wins, Hamlin has claimed a total of seven top-10’s and twice has finished third.

Coming off a good run at Indianapolis Tony Stewart has some momentum. Aside from two wins at the “tricky triangle” the driver of the #14 Chevy has finished in the top-10 an impressive 17 times in 23 races.  In Stewart’s last four races at Pocono he’s finished second, first, tenth and third.

Jeff Gordon is still looking to break into the win column this year. Gordon who hasn’t won since Texas last year has won four previous events at Pocono. Gordon was involved in a crash at Pocono during the first event this year but had finished in the top-10 in the three events before that. Overall Gordon has 16 top-5’s and 24 top-10’s in 35 starts.

Even with the way Jimmie Johnson and crew performed at Indianapolis it’s impossible to write a race preview and not mention him. Johnson has made 17 starts at Pocono and has won twice. He’s also got 6top-5’s and 11 top-10’s.

After weeks of telling everyone to stay away from the Ford camp my suggestions of Edwards, Kenseth and Biffle last week weren’t too far off. Biffle ran second, Edwards was seventh and Kenseth was a disappointing twelfth after a good early showing.  With that being said I’m saying pick Carl Edwards. The Ford cars have been showing improvements in recent weeks and Edwards does a pretty good job of getting around Pocono with 2 career wins in 11 starts and a total of 4 top-10’s on his resume.

If you really like Fords then you could also go with Kasey Kahne who has a win and 2 poles at the track. Kahne has been up and down all season but has finished in the top-10 in four of the last six Sprint Cup events this year.

As with other tracks with long straightaways Kurt Busch is as good as they come. Busch has two career wins at Pocono and has led laps in the last two races resulting in finishes of ninth and sixth.

Sam Hornish Jr. during Busch  Series Ford 300 qualifying at Homestead Miami Speedway Photo via  NewscomMatt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, and Jeff Burton are all solid bets for 15th or better this week but none have exactly wowed at Pocono. Nor has Dale Earnhardt Jr or Greg Biffle.

It will be interesting to see which Kyle Busch shows up in PA. Busch ran second earlier this year to his teammate Hamlin but in 11 starts has an average finish of 19.6 with a handful of mid 20 runs. Busch is a good gamble for those hoping to win big but you have to be accepting of the risk in picking him if he does poorly.

Last weeks winner Jamie McMurray has just 3 top-10’s in 15 starts while teammate Juan Pablo Montoya has finished in the top-10 in his last three starts. Perhaps this week he avenges a disappointing day at Indy?

Lastly we come to Sam Hornish. Hornish has five career starts at Pocono and has finished 42, 26, 10, 4, 11 in them. With the numbers on the right side being better then those on the left perhaps Hornish is the best of the buy low drivers.

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