The Checkered Flag – The Pocono Organics CBD 325 at Pocono Raceway

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Welcome back Playmakers! This week we are at Pocono. The track is right next to a group of mountains and it feels like it rains here every year at some point during the race weekend. This year they decided to run two races here in the same weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday. If this were the case at ANY other track on the whole schedule I would be really excited. But this is Pocono. Arguably the most boring race on the whole schedule. Honestly I’m amazed someone thought two races here in two days was a good idea. Other than it’s triangle shape Pocono is very lackluster. And I’m not trying to be negative, this is just the brutal honest truth. It’s just not very exciting. It’s the type of racetrack the series should be moving away from as they develop more short tracks and road courses to race and put on the schedule. Pocono has a decent chance of being a fuel mileage race. There’s usually not many cautions, I do expect a few flat tires that may effect things though. A few drivers have done pretty well here in their last couple of trips. 

I think those guys are worth focusing on. Pocono is about rhythm. If a driver can get into the groove they can put down consistent good laps. I like drivers who have shown they can do that in the past here. Let’s take a look at who I think you should focus your builds around: 

Dominators 

Kyle Larson | 1st | 12,500DK | 14,500FD

Larson has been the best driver in the series for about a month now. He’s a great option to lead a bunch of laps. I like to look at prior history at the specific track for drivers I choose for the player pool. Larson does not have great numbers to fall back on here. But he’s in the best car and situation he’s ever been in and it shows. He’s very likely a top10 car here today even if he doesn’t dominate the laps led category. He’s expensive, but he’s been racing out of his mind the last hand full of races. So it’s hard to fade him today, even if you don’t think he wins. He’s just making it look to easy right now. Great play but I will have a few gpp lines where I fade him based on him expected ownership, just to be contrarian. 

Kyle Busch | 5th | 10,000DK | 13,000FD

Busch has two wins here since 2018. This is a track he usually does really well at. He’s not a core play or anything, but he’s a decent alternative to Larson. I like the play but I noticed he has an usually large amount of DNFs here over the years. So I’m a bit cautious. Gpp only really. 

Kevin Harvick | 3rd | 9,300DK | 12,000FD

Harvick has been really solid the last couple of weeks. SHR has good results here as a team so I’m interested in having some exposure as a contrarian play to Larson. He also has a win here since 2018 and he’s led 22% of all laps here over that span. Definitely worthy of consideration. 

William Byron | 2nd | 9,000DK | 11,500FD

Willy B starts 2nd here, I think it’s is an advantage to Larson. Both are on the same team and I just don’t see Byron pushing Larson for the lead to start this race, if Larson were to get a bad start on the green flag for some reason Byron would be in a great spot to snag the lead. But I doubt it happens. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Larson would mess up the start that bad, being the controlling car, so I think Byron falls back in line, either in 2nd or possibly 3rd or 4th depending on how well those just behind him do (Harvick, Logano) 

Denny Hamlin | 10th | 9,700DK | 13,500FD

Denny is consistently really good here. He’s won 2 out of the last 4 races here. No worse than 6th place in his last 4 trips to the Pocono mountains. I don’t know how likely he is to get the lead, but starting 10th he is in a good spot to stick here at worst or move up. I think Denny is a great cash game play because of that, still some gpp appeal as well. 

Also Consider 

Joey Logano | 4th | 8,800DK | 10,000FD

Place Differential 

Chase Elliot | 29th | 11,000DK | 11,000FD

This is a prime spot. But at a very high price of course. Chase is at minimum battling for a top10 here. I would be amazed if he didn’t. He should be one of the highest scores today. You need exposure in cash and if you are multi entry player you should have him in over 50% of your builds. I also really like Blaney for just slightly cheaper. You need to have either one of them or even both in builds. 

Ryan Blaney | 27th | 10,200DK | 10,300FD

Great spot here. I’ll pay this price for Blaney because his ceiling is right there with Chase. There’s a chance he’s the highest point scorer in the race. Certainly one of the highest ceilings and should have a very solid score. This is a great piece to build around. 

Brad Keselowski | 18th | 9,500DK | 10,500FD

This feels like a BradK type of race. I like this starting spot. Top5-10 upside with a shot at being a contender at the end. He may go underowned here because of Blaney Chase and Larson price tags. But you definitely don’t want to forget about Brad. Hes finished top10 here in 9 of the last 11 races. He’s solid in cash and gpp. They will come with a solid game plan. I could see Brad being a factor in the race. I want exposure. 

Chris Buescher | 25th | 8,000DK | 7000FD

Paying up a bit on DK here. That’s an indication he’s too cheap on FD. I think he should battle for a top20 and with some luck and/or strategy possibly higher. He’s a solid play in either format. Be careful to not overexpose yourself though. Just in case. 

Erik Jones | 22nd | 6 400DK | 6,500FD

He’s had some success here in the past so I think he’s in play this week. This is a decent price on either site. The upside isn’t huge here but he shouldn’t fall further back than 22nd, unless he has issues of some sort, of course. 

Matt DiBennedetto | 21st | 7,100DK | 8,200FD

This is a pretty solid cash game option with slight gpp appeal. I’m not a huge fan, but he’s cheap enough to work into some lineups. Outside chance he has a really good day, maybe they use fuel mileage or a caution to their advantage at some point. If he does have a ceiling race, I want some exposure. 

Cole Custer | 26th | 6,300DK | 5,500FD

He’s won here prior in xfin for SHR. I think he can finish better than this starting spot. Cheap enough to work into lineups too. 

Chase Briscoe | 28th | 6,900DK | 5,000FD

He’s also won an xfin race here for SHR. I think he also has some upside and is worth a look. I would definitely have some exposure in multi entry. I wouldn’t force him for a cash game. But, you could do worse. 

Ryan Newman | 19th | 5,800DK | 5,300FD

This salary is disrespectful to Newman. Look, he’s not the consistent cash game lock he once was, but the guy can still drive. He’s finished in the top20 here in 9 out of his last 10 races. You don’t need much for this price. Stay in the top 24 or so and he should pay off. That’s definitely something he can do. 

Also Consider 

Martin Truex | 15th | 10,700DK | 12,500FD

Alex Bowman | 13th | 8,600DK | 9,500FD

Aric Almirola | 11th | 7,300DK | 6,500FD

Starting to do better now after a woeful first half to the season. SHR does well here. 

Ross Chastain | 6th | 6,800DK | 6,000FD

This is risky. Chastain had a great race here last year in xfin. And he has a decent car. I don’t think anyone uses him because his ceiling isn’t good at all. But I’m willing to take a dart throw on him and hope he sticks top15 at worst. Hopefully slightly better. I do not recommend this play unless you are running multiple lines and want a low owned play to take a shot on. There’s definitely risk here because of this starting spot. If he has a bad day, you have a bad day. 

Justin Haley | 34th | 5,900DK | 2,500FD

He won a xfin race here in 2017. Im not a big fan, but if you have to play people this low in salary he’s an option. I think he gets more ownership than Newman for the same price based on his possible ceiling, a ceiling he’s not going to hit unless some freak occurrence were to happen. 

Remember, NASCAR is a CRAZY DFS sport. Scores and your place in the money can change in a heartbeat. There are so many variables that no one can really predict. Cars can be finicky, and some will crash which can ruin your day. You need your full team to be on its game if you want to cash, and you may need a little luck. This is not a one man sport when you pick a player like other styles of DFS. There’s 30-50 guys behind the scenes who all have a hand in building the car, or developing a game plan. Sometimes it only takes one mistake by one of those guys for a driver to have a bad race. That narrative does not apply to other forms of DFS, so be cautious when building your lines, but most of all, have fun!

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