January 16, 2021

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR
NASCAR

Martin Truex Jr. won this event last year after leading 97 laps and three-time Pocono winner Jimmie Johnson has led the most laps (221) in the last 10 races. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Driver Averages Driver RatingsLoop DataPast Winners | Tire Notes

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com’s Jeff Wackerlin takes a look at some notes and statistics for Sunday’s Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Who’s HOT at Pocono
• Martin Truex Jr. led 97 laps en route to the win in this event last year.
• Kevin Harvick, who led 39 laps in this event last year, has finished second in two of the last three races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all drivers with an 8.0 average finish in the last 10 races, including wins in both races in 2014.
• Three-time winner Jimmie Johnson has led the most laps (221) in the last 10 races.
• Joey Logano has finished in the top five in two of his last three stars and led 97 laps last August before running out of fuel with three laps to go.
• Kurt Busch, a two-time winner, has finished in the top five in three of the last five races.
• Denny Hamlin (four-time winner) and Jamie McMurray each have finished in the top 10 three of the last four races.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Pocono 
• Kyle Busch, who finished ninth in this event, ran out of fuel on the final lap last August while leading.
• Matt Kenseth, the latest winner at Pocono, posted a 3.5 average finish in the two races last season.
• Brad Keselowski, winner of the 2011 August race, has finished second in two of the last four Pocono Races. He also participated in the Goodyear Tire test in April.
• Kyle Larson, who participated in the Goodyear Tire test, has posted a 9.0 average finish in four Pocono starts.
• An accident in this event last year race snapped Ryan Newman’s streak of five consecutive finishes of eighth or better at Pocono. He also participated in the Goodyear Tire test.
• Carl Edwards, who has a 12.5 average finish in two Pocono starts with Joe Gibbs Racing, has two wins and has led 653 laps with the lower-downforce package this season.
• Chase Elliott is tied for the sixth best average finish (11.0) in the 11 races with the lower-downforce package.

Notes: Be sure to check back with MRN.com for practice speeds on Friday and Saturday.

Best Average Finish at Pocono

Last # of Races

Driver

Avg. Fin.

Two Races

Matt Kenseth 3.5

Four Races

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4.2

Six Races

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4.2

Eight Races

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8.1

10 Races

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8.0

* – The best average finish is based off a driver who has competed in every race during that time span.

Pocono Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2015, 22 Races)*

*Fastest Early in a Run

*Fastest Late in a Run

*Avg. Running Position

1. Kyle Larson

1. Denny Hamlin

1. Jimmie Johnson – 10.5

2. Denny Hamlin

2. Jimmie Johnson

2. Denny Hamlin – 10.7

3. Kurt Busch

3. Kurt Busch

3. Kurt Busch – 10.9

4. Jimmie Johnson

4. Kasey Kahne

4. Ryan Newman – 12.0

5. Austin Dillon

5. Tony Stewart

5. Kyle Larson – 12.0

*Laps in Top 15

*Quality Passes

*Driver Rating

1. Jimmie Johnson – 3025

1. Ryan Newman – 938

1. Denny Hamlin – 107.2

2. Kurt Busch – 2857

2. Jimmie Johnson – 932

2. Jimmie Johnson – 106.9

3. Ryan Newman – 2852

3. Tony Stewart – 923

3. Kurt Busch – 105.7

4. Denny Hamlin – 2835

4. Kasey Kahne – 845

4. Tony Stewart – 95.7

5. Tony Stewart – 2737

5. Kurt Busch – 825

5. Kyle Larson – 95.1

*Must be entered in the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.
*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop. *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.

For a look at all the Loop Data for Pocono Click Here to view the Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400 Pre-Race Loop Data Book. Click Here to view MRN’s Season Loop Data page.

NASCAR

Season Loop Data Leaders

*Fastest Early in a Run

*Fastest Late in a Run

Avg. Running Position

1. Kevin Harvick

1. Kevin Harvick

1. Kevin Harvick – 6.1

2. Kyle Busch

2. Kyle Busch

2. Martin Truex Jr. – 7.6

3. Kurt Busch

3. Jimmie Johnson

3. Kyle Busch – 8.1

4. Joey Logano

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4. Jimmie Johnson – 8.9

5. Brad Keselowski

5. Martin Truex Jr.

5. Matt Kenseth – 9.3

Laps in Top 15

*Quality Passes

*Driver Rating

1. Kevin Harvick – 4067

1. Brad Keselowski – 1065

1. Kevin Harvick – 115.9

2. Martin Truex Jr. – 3805

2. Jimmie Johnson – 1061

2. Martin Truex Jr. – 107.8

3. Kurt Busch – 3711

3. Kevin Harvick – 1049

3. Kyle Busch – 106.3

4. Jimmie Johnson – 3623

4. Joey Logano – 1040

4. Matt Kenseth – 102.1

5. Matt Kenseth – 3573

5. Kurt Busch – 971

5. Carl Edwards – 102.1

*Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Fastest Early In a Run: *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
*Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
*Driver Rating: Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.

Lower-Downforce Top Performers (11 Races*) – Ranked by Average Finish 

Driver Wins Top 5s Top 10s Avg. Start Avg. Fin. Laps Led
Kevin Harvick 1 5 9 10.5 6.7 679
Kurt Busch 4 9 12.3 8.9 189
Jimmie Johnson 2 6 7 12.8 9.1 206
Carl Edwards 2 4 7 8.5 9.5 653
Dale Earnhardt Jr.   4 5 19.2 10.7 34
Chase Elliott 3 8 14.2 11.0 2
Brad Keselowski 1 3 7 10.5 11.0 82
Martin Truex Jr. 1 1 5 9.3 12.3 807
Joey Logano 3 6 8.4 12.5 108
Kyle Busch 3 7 7 11.8 12.9 648

*Does Not Include Daytona and Talladega

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
Robbie Mays: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Kurt Busch

Driver Notes – Ordered by Top 20 in Average Finish in the Last Five Races at Pocono

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top five in five of his last six Pocono starts, including winning both events in 2014. This season, Earnhardt ranks fifth in average finish (10.7) in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package.

Kyle Larson has finished 12th or better in his four Pocono starts with top-10 finishes in his two starts in the June race. In April, Larson participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Pocono. In his last two starts of the season, Larson has posted a 7.5 average finish and led 85 laps at Dover International Speedway.

Greg Biffle has finished in the top 10 in four of his last six starts at Pocono. Biffle’s crew chief Brian Pattie was placed on probation for two races starting this weekend after an infraction at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski is coming off his fourth top five at Pocono, which includes a win in the 2011 August race. This season, Brad Keselowski has one win and is tied for sixth with Chase Elliott in average finish (11.0) in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package. He participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Pocono in April.

Jamie McMurray has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races at Pocono.

Clint Bowyer has finished in the top 10 in two of his last three races at Pocono. This season, Bowyer has two top-10 finishes with HScott Motorsports (Bristol and Talladega).

Kurt Busch won the pole and finished fifth in this event last year at Pocono. The finish marked his second top five in four track starts with Stewart Haas Racing. This weekend, Busch will be without his crew chief Tony Gibson, who was suspended one race for an infraction at Charlotte. This season, Busch ranks second in average finish (8.9) in the 11 races with the lower-downforce package.

Jimmie Johnson scored his last of three Pocono wins in the 2013 June race. He finished third in this event last season for his third top 10 in the last four races. This season, Johnson has scored two wins and ranks third in average finish (9.1) in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package.

Joey Logano finished fourth in this event last year for his fourth top 10 in six Pocono starts with Team Penske. Last August, Logano dominated the Pocono race, leading 97 of the 160 laps before running out of fuel while leading with just three laps to go. This season, Logano ranks ninth in average finish (12.5) in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package.

Martin Truex Jr. dominated this event last year, leading 97 laps en route to the win. The victory was his second top 10 in four track starts with Furniture Row Racing. Truex is coming off his first win of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has led a series high 807 laps with the lower-downforce package. Truex participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Pocono in April.

Kevin Harvick has a streak of two consecutive runner-up finishes at Pocono snapped last August when an engine issue relegated him to a 42nd-place finish. This season, Harvick leads all drivers with a 6.7 average finish in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package. This weekend, Harvick will return in the same car (chassis No. 841) that he led 139 laps en route to the win at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this season.

Austin Dillon is coming off his best finish, of 13th, in four starts at Pocono. This weekend, Dillon will pilot the same car (chassis No. 485) he finished 12th with at Dover International Speedway in May.

Ryan Newman snapped a streak of five consecutive top 10s at Pocono last year in this event after a crash took him out of contention. He participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Pocono in April. This weekend, Newman will pilot the same car (chassis No. 507) that Paul Menard drove to a 15th-place finish earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway.

Tony Stewart is coming off his ninth top 10 in 14 Pocono starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. This weekend, Stewart will debut a new car (chassis No. 991) that he tested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 26-27.

Denny Hamlin scored his last of four Pocono wins in the 2010 June race. Since his last win, Hamlin has recorded six top 10s, including a 10th-place run in this event last year. Hamlin is coming off consecutive top 10s on the season for the first time since March with his fourth-place run at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth saved enough gas to win his first Pocono race last August. He also finished sixth on this event last year for his first finish of 21st or better in six overall track starts with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kyle Busch appeared he was on his way to his first Pocono win last August until he ran out of fuel on the final circuit. Busch finished ninth last year in this event for one six top 10s in 16 Pocono starts with Joe Gibbs Racing. This season, Busch ranks 10th in average finish (12.9), but leads all drivers in wins (3) in the 11 races contested with the lower-downforce package.

David Ragan finished 17th last August for his best finish in his last nine Pocono starts.

Casey Mears has yet to finish in the top 10 at Pocono in 10 starts with Germain Racing.

Carl Edwards is coming off his ninth top 10 in 22 Pocono starts. His 10th-place finish last August was his first top 10 in two track starts with Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards, who is a two-time Pocono winner with Roush Fenway Racing, ranks fourth in average finish (9.5) this season in the 11 races with the lower-downforce package.

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