NASCAR drivers and their teams head to Pocono Raceway this weekend as they will be racing on a newly paved surface. It is the first paving since 1995 and testing this week has already reached speeds averaging over 180 mph.
With the new pavement, it has been said that the old notes for Pocono can be thrown away as the racing will be completely different this weekend. That means it will be hard to determine who will be strong heading into the weekend with no information from the new surface. Let’s take a look at some drivers to keep an eye on at the Tricky Triangle.
Denny Hamlin– Hamlin has four wins in his short career at Pocono and is always considered a favorite. He is probably the last person who wanted to see the new pavement but he should still have confidence going into this weekend. It will be interesting to see how he performs and if he will be able to maintain his high performance level and get his third win of the year.
Brad Keselowski– Last season Keselowski won the July race at Pocono after a strategy call during the final pit stop. Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have shown that they are the best team at making the right call and using strategy to to put themselves in position to win. This weekend will probably be all about track position as tires should not wear off much. If Keselowski is running in the top 10, which is likely, Paul Wolfe will find a way to use strategy to get him into the lead.
Jeff Gordon– With some bad luck this season, mixed with problems on pit road, Gordon finds himself outside the top 20 in points. The rest of Gordon’s season is dependent on wins. It is highly unlikely that he will be able to get back into the top 10 in points and he will be aiming to earn one of the two wild-card spots. Another problem that Gordon is running into is the fact that just one win might not be enough since other drivers such as Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne are ahead of him in points already with wins this season.
Kasey Kahne- He was fastest in the final test session Thursday and he will look to continue his hot streak at Pocono. Kahne is getting closer to the top 10 in points and will need to continues his hot streak to get there. Pocono has been a hit or miss track for Kahne and he will be looking to move past Newman for the final wild card spot. He is only one point behind right now and should be able to get himself into position with the way he has been performing lately.
Pocono used to be a track where it was predictable on who will run well. Now with the new pavement, it will be hard to determine how the racing will be or who will be contenders for the win. This is one of the most intriguing races at Pocono in recent history and it has potential to be one of the best races there in a long time.
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