During the season, tracks will change from the first visit to the second. It often means one trip early in the season and another in the late stages, often in the Chase.
Tracks such as Bristol change drastically as one race is during the day, the other is at night. Places like Phoenix have one race right at the beginning of the year, during the late stages of winter, then the second occurs when the fall season starts coming in.
Then you have Pocono, who's races are so close together, yet the track will see some big changes in just that short period of time.
Just two months ago, NASCAR visited a freshly repaved triangle, and now after the track spent this time sitting in the hot Pennsylvania sun, it's ready for some more action. But at the same time, the track will have a different grip than it did when the pavement was fresh. It could mean a tougher time getting some grip for the tires, and hotter temperatures, which will mean toughter overall conditions.
The second time around could mean a great victory or great defeat. This is has made it more difficult for the writers to make their choices, but they are locked in and are unable to be changed.
Here are the picks for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400:
Misan Akuya: Denny Hamlin
I think Denny Hamlin has changed. I think he is ready to win championships. Not sure if 2012 is his year, but it his is best chance since his wonderful 2010 season.
A master at Pocono with four wins Hamlin is always the favorite at this track. Easy pick really.
James Broomhead: NO PICK
No pick sent by posting time.
Kelly Crandall: Jimmie Johnson
Just like last week I flipped between picking Johnson or Denny Hamlin. Last weekend in Indianapolis worked out well so I'm going to stick with Johnson since I picked him at Pocono earlier this year.
He nabbed a top-five finish but had he not had a speeding penalty he might have contended for the win, which is what I'm hoping this weekend.
Billy Fellin: Denny Hamlin
Hamlin just gets Pocono. Repave or no repave he just loves that joint. The 5, 14 and 20 will all run well, but I think Denny will finish first this week.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Christopher Leone: Joey Logano
Kara Martin: Denny Hamlin
Ryan O'Hara: Jeff Gordon
He has to win sooner or later.
Dustin Parks: Brad Keselowski
It has certainly been a crazy summer for Penske Racing. Since Daytona, the organization has been nuts because of A.J. Allmendinger's failed drug test. This week, the driver that was hired and was given his greatest opportunity to race and win is now gone.
In order to get the team back on track, who better to do that than the guy who at this race last year started an incredible summer run.
I'm going for the Miller Lite Dodge to put Penske back in victory lane, and back on the right track.
Patti Rodisch: Denny Hamlin
It is a flat track. Hamlin is one of the best on this type of track. Expect him to do well this weekend. Hopefully net me another win.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jimmie Johnson
Why not? Could be that kind of race on Sunday. Let's just hope everyone remembers the speeding trap zones on pit road.
Standings following Indianapolis:
Billy Fellin (730) Tony Stewart finished 10th (3)
Sal Sigala Jr. (715) Jimmie Johnson WON (2)
Kelly Crandall (669) Jimmie Johnson WON (3)
Christopher Leone (668) Jeff Gordon finished 5th (1)
Misan Akuya (664) Tony Stewart finished 10th (1)
Patti Rodisch (677) Jeff Gordon finished 5th (2)
James Broomhead (648) Juan Pablo Montoya finished 21st (2)
Rob Tiongson (643) Jeff Gordon finished 5th (3)
Dustin Parks (642) Jeff Gordon finished 5th (1)
Kara Martin (642) Tony Stewart finished 10th (1)
Ryan O'Hara (634) Jeff Gordon finished 5th (1)
Michael Hirshbein (596) Kyle Busch finished 2nd (1)
Final Thoughts: For the second straight week the track is 2.5-miles in length and has very little banking. The difference being the track only has three corners, and each are different challenges.
It will make for a difficult race, and despite being 100 miles shorter, wondering if enough Sunoco fuel will get them to victory lane will become a big factor.
Everything will kick off on ESPN beginning at 12 noon ET.
Summary of Picks: