DraftKings NASCAR: Pennsylvania 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Pennsylvania 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Pennsylvania 400

Location: Long Pond, Pa.
Course: Pocono Raceway
Format: 2.5-mile oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

After Kyle Busch dominated the weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are back to chasing down Joe Gibbs Racing. The Toyota-powered machines were the fastest cars all weekend at the Brickyard, and the associated operation Furniture Row Racing with Martin Truex Jr. was part of that elite group. The Chase for the Sprint Cup is approaching rapidly, and the gap between and the rest of the field JGR must be closed in order for any driver to hope to hoist the trophy. This weekend's race features another 2.5-mile oval with one turn that's similar to the Brickyard, but it features three distinctly different corners with long straights in between, and it was Kurt Busch that took the win here in the spring.

Key Stats at Pocono Raceway

Number of previous races: 77
Winners from pole: 15
Winners from top-5 starters: 45
Winners from top-10 starters: 55
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 145.384 mph

Last 10 Pocono Winners

2016 spring - Kurt Busch
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2014 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2013 fall - Kasey Kahne
2013 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2012 fall - Jeff Gordon
2012 spring - Joey Logano
2011 fall - Brad Keselowski

Pocono Raceway is one of the more unique circuits on the Sprint Cup schedule. It's a long, flat, tri-oval that features three distinctly different turns by radius and banking. The corners are separated by long straights that require significant grunt from the engines to propel drivers into the distant turns and overtake competitors. The track can be punishing due to the long on-throttle straights and some extra shifting to get through certain turns as quickly as possible. The size of the track can open the door to differing pit strategy, as it makes pitting under green without losing a lap a distinct possibility. Passing will be a bit easier here than it was last week in Indianapolis, and that should make for more overtaking at the front of the order. Toyota has only won one of the last eight races at the track with Chevrolet taking the remaining seven.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kyle Busch - $10,600
Kevin Harvick - $10,400
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Matt Kenseth - $9,800
Joey Logano - $9,500
Brad Keselowski - $9,300
Denny Hamlin - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Chase Elliott - $8,700
Tony Stewart - $8,500
Kyle Larson - $8,300
Austin Dillon - $7,700

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,800
Aric Almirola - $6,600
Casey Mears - $6,200
Chris Buescher - $5,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $9,500
Brad Keselowski - $9,300
Tony Stewart - $8,500
Kyle Larson - $8,300
Greg Biffle - $7,200
Clint Bowyer - $6,900

Penske Racing overcame a lack of competitiveness in Indianapolis with shrewd pit strategy that kept the teammates at the front of the running order all afternoon. If they approach Pocono in the same manner, on more equal footing to Joe Gibbs Racing, they could be easy plays for the win on Sunday. Tony Stewart continued to prove that his return to form is no fluke. He sits 11th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings and has three top-fives in the last five races. Another value option this week is Larson. The young driver has never finished lower than 12th at Pocono, which is remarkable consistency in his five races at the track. Biffle is another driver riding a turnaround in fortune. Indianapolis didn't finish as he would have liked, but he had three top-10s prior to last weekend's race. Finally, Bowyer hasn't had much to be positive about this year, but a top-20 at this track earlier this season could mean another again this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $9,100
Kurt Busch - $8,900
Ryan Newman - $7,700
Ryan Blaney - $7,400
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,800

Johnson continues his fight to climb out of his slump. He's showing signs of speed, and that could help him to a respectable run at Pocono this week. Hamlin brings some of the Joe Gibbs Racing flavor to the lineup, and he has four track wins. Pocono has also been kind to Kurt Busch. The former champion has three wins at the circuit and is the most recent winner there from earlier this season. Rookie Blaney continues to hunt for a spot in the Chase, and returning to the track at which he finished 10th in his first try could give him the boost he needs to make a final charge. The higher-risk option is rounded off by Stenhouse Jr. who can use the recent strides forward made by Roush Fenway Racing to build on his consistency at Pocono. He has added three top-20 finishes to his track resume in the last five visits to the venue.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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