One thing that is difficult for any race team is to set up a car for a track that is different from one corner to the next, or one straightaway to the next. Darlington is a perfect example as despite the straightaways being the same length, two corners are pinched in, making the car handle completely different at each end of the track.
But possibly the most difficult track for any team to get set up for is happening this weekend.
Three different straightaways, each of different lengths. There's three very distinct corners, each needing to be taken different because of the unique angle and banking. There is no turn four, since three corners equal a triangle, one very tricky triangle. NASCAR is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the first of two stops on the season, hoping to avoid any wildlife that seems to be around the track every time these cars come to town.
It is hard to choose a winner here because so many factors come into play with every race and every lap. It certainly may not be like last week where half the writers in the pool left Dover with a win on their season, but then again it could be another successful week for some.
In any case, picks are locked in, so here's who this dirty dozen have chosen to win the Pocono 400:
Misan Akuya: Kevin Harvick
Harvick has been leading the charge at Stewart Haas. The man and his 4 team hae been the best car all year long. Sure Jimmie Johnson just won the last two races. But with less bad luck that could have been Harvick. If nothing bad happens to him on track and pit road Harvick will be Happy Harvick again.
Rob Blount: Kevin Harvick
He’s never been great at Pocono, but I expect that to change on Sunday for one reason. They’re bringing the car they ran at Darlington. I hope y’all didn’t forget what he did there.
James Broomhead: Denny Hamlin
Billy Fellin: Joey Logano
The 22 has been fast all year and Pocono's been good to Logano.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Kara Martin: Jimmie Johnson
Ryan O'Hara: Jimmie Johnson
I hate to be a party pooper, but Jimmie will win three in a row. Thankfully, Michigan will stop the bleeding, at least momentarily.
Dustin Parks: Carl Edwards
One thing I know about Pocono is that historically it has been very kind to the Ford brand, so going into the weekend I knew that was the manufacturer I wanted to win. Choosing who to go with, however, was a challenge. I opted for the 99 because there's already been so much talk of where Edwards will go, or if he will go, after this year, it's about time he made a different type of headline, one that includes another win.
Opting for Cousin Carl.
Patti Rodisch: Jimmie Johnson
Aaron Rosser: Joey Logano
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jeff Gordon
I'm going to continue the Jeff Gordon and No. 24 streak here. Yes, I'm losing points but I want wins and right now this is a team that wants that big second W after the let down at Dover. I look for this team to rebound and get things done at Pocono for a fourth spring race win here!
Standings after Dover:
Kara Martin (485) Jimmie Johnson WON - 3
Ryan O'Hara (461) Jimmie Johnson WON - 4
Sal Sigala Jr. (450) Jimmie Johnson WON - 5
Dustin Parks (441) Kyle Busch finished 42nd - 2
Patti Rodisch (425) Jimmie Johnson WON - 2
Rob Tiongson (425) Jeff Gordon finished 15th - 2
Billy Fellin (419) Jimmie Johnson WON - 1
Rob Blount (414) Matt Kenseth finished 3rd - 1
Michael Hirshbein (411) Kyle Busch finished 42nd - 1
Aaron Rosser (392) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 9th - 1
Misan Akuya (386) Jimmie Johnson WON - 1
James Broomhead (369) Matt Kenseth finished 3rd - 2
Final Remarks: Obviously, the Pool participants believe many different ideas of who to go with this week. Momentum, history, desire and hope all can sum up how they decided on their quest for victory. Now, it's going to take 160 laps to determine if any one of them picked correctly.
It's a new week, and in this case it's a new network broadcasting the race. The "Summer Series" begins as TNT has it's six-pack of coverage starting this weekend. Countdown to Green begins at Noon ET, and then an hour later the green flag is out as Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty head to the booth for the play-by-play.
Summary of Picks: