It is not often that NASCAR visits similar race tracks in back-to-back weeks. Sometimes it's beneficial, or could be difficult. Last week, NASCAR was in Indianapolis, a track that at 2.5-miles in length saw a lot of single-file action, and using the draft to make slingshot passes into the corners.
This week's track is the same length, had similar corners in some aspects, but it is more of a challenge.
NASCAR is back in Pocono, where one of their corners was designed based on Indy. But, the three different straightaways and three different corners make this track difficult to handle. One good corner can often mean two ill-handling ones.
That's part of why this place is called the "Tricky Triangle," because finding the perfect setup is tough to do. Makes for a challenging race, both for driver and crew.
Makes for a tough choice to win as well. But, the writers seem to have an idea of who to go with. Here's who they all chose for victory in Sunday's GoBowling.com 400:
Misan Akuya: Jimmie Johnson
Can anyone go wrong with picking him?
Rob Blount: Jimmie Johnson
James Broomhead: Matt Kenseth
Kelly Crandall: Jimmie Johnson
Billy Fellin: Kurt Busch
There hasn't been a repeat winner at Pocono since 2006 when Denny Hamlin did it. Jimmie Johnson will have a solid car as always, but I don't think he'll take home the win.
I'm going with Kurt. He's on the cusp of winning, has won the second race at Pocono twice and finished 7th in the first stop at Pocono.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Christopher Leone: Jeff Gordon
Kara Martin: Tony Stewart
Ryan O'Hara: Jimmie Johnson
Dustin Parks: Tony Stewart
I could easily go with Johnson to repeat, but with me being behind in points, just getting a win isn't enough because it means others have it too and I don't gain ground. So, I'm going with a driver that not only had a great Sunday, but a great week.
Let's face it, Smoke had an awesome week. The Truck race at Eldora was so fun to watch, then he goes to victory lane at Indy as an owner, seeing his teammate kiss the bricks. He's been strong recently, and the time is now for Smoke to get his mojo going in the summer.
Smoke for the win at Pocono.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
I actually wanted to go with Kasey Kahne but the numbers don't lie. Johnson dominated at Pocono in the June and had the second best car at Indy.
I expect Johnson to pick up where he left off at Indy but this time end with a win.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Kasey Kahne
Redemption is spelled at Pocono as "K-a-s-e-y K-a-h-n-e." Look for Driver No. 5 to get back into Victory Lane at Long Pond, PA after an ominous start to his June race here.
Standings following Indianapolis:
Rob Tiongson (703) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (1)
Patti Rodisch (690) Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd (0)
Kelly Crandall (663) Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd (1)
Sal Sigala Jr. (656) Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd (1)
Billy Fellin (644) Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd (1)
Michael Hirshbein (637) Kyle Busch finished 10th (2)
Rob Blount (621) Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd (1)
Dustin Parks (601) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (0)
Kara Martin (567) Tony Stewart finished 4th (0)
Ryan O'Hara (565) Jeff Gordon finished 7th (0)
James Broomhead (556) Juan Montoya finished 9th (1)
Misan Akuya (530) Tony Stewart finished 4th (1)
Christopher Leone (420) NO PICK SENT (0)
Final Thoughts: It's no surprise who the top pick is this week, but much like every track that sees two races in a season, the track is going to be different now than it was in June. It's hotter, stickier surface, and handling will be again critical.
But, in the end the one thing this track is known for is fuel mileage. So, if a driver is able to conserve enough when the race is nearly done, they could steal away a victory.
ESPN will be the eyes on the action beginning at Noon ET.
Summary of Picks: