Race day preview: Pennsylvania 400

Race day at Pocono is upon us and just like in June, the win could go through one of the Toyota drivers.

So far this weekend, Kyle Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota have been towards the top of the practice charts in both Sprint Cup practice sessions held on Friday afternoon. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise despite a blown motor back in the June race, Busch finished second last weekend at Indianapolis, a track that many consider similar to Pocono.

Busch’s teammate,Denny Hamlin, has a record at Pocono that speaks for itself.

With four wins at the triangle track, Hamlin’s practice speeds were nothing to brag about, but a second place starting spot bodes well at a track that is one of the most critical on the circuit for track position.

And let’s not forget about the winner of the June Pocono race, Joey Logano.

Logano may be starting outside the top-10 on Sunday, but with Sunday possibly being his best opportunity to make a push for the final wildcard spot for the Chase, you can bet that the No.20 team will be willing to pull any-and-all strategy to get their second win of the season to help with the Chase birth.

Just like every week though, it’s almost impossible to rule out any of the Hendrick Motorsports cars for the win.

Hendrick’s newest one-two-punch, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., have shown the same consistent speed that propelled the two to top-10 finishes in the June race.

And given how well the two ran one week ago at Indianapolis, it wouldn’t be much a shock for the two to run well again on Sunday.

Like their Hendrick Motorsport’s counterparts, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne have shown speed. But unlike them, being in contention for the win is almost a must.

While Kahne appears to be locked into the Chase after his two wins at Charlotte and New Hampshire, Gordon is in dire need to a return trip to victory lane.

Although, hardly any of this could matter with the ultimate race-changer, rain, in the forecast for Sunday.

Pocono Fast Facts: 

Jimmie Johnson has the best all-time average finish at Pocono at 8.762.

In 51 career starts at Pocono Raceway, Mark Martin has the most top-fives with 21.

The pole winner has finished inside the top-three at Pocono Raceway dating back to August,2009.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced the way in final practice followed by; Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr.,Jeff Gordon,Kurt Busch,and Jimmie Johnson.

Fantasy Racing Advice: 

“A” Driver: Denny Hamlin

“B” Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle

“C” Driver: Sam Hornish Jr.

Pennsylvania 400 Starting Lineup: 

1: Juan Pablo Montoya

2: Denny Hamlin

3: Paul Menard

4: Kasey Kahne

5: Marcos Ambrose

6: Kurt Busch

7: Matt Kenseth

8: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

9: Ryan Newman

10: Jimmie Johnson

11: Regan Smith

12: Greg Biffle

13: Aric Almirola

14: Joey Logano

15: Martin Truex Jr.

16: Jamie McMurray

17: Carl Edwards

18: Mark Martin

19: Clint Bowyer

20: Kyle Busch

21: Kevin Harvick

22: Landon Cassill

23: Jeff Burton

24: David Reutimann

25: Sam Hornish Jr.

26: David Gilliland

27: Jeff Gordon

28: Tony Stewart

29: Casey Mears

30: Mike Bliss

31: Brad Keselowski

32: David Ragan

33: Scott Riggs

34: Josh Wise

35: JJ Yeley

36: David Stremme

37: Travis Kvapil

38: Joe Nemechek

39: Bobby Labonte

40: Reed Sorenson

41: Jason White

42: Tony Raines

43: Mike Skinner