NASCAR returns to the majestic Pocono Mountains this weekend for the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400. Over half a century has passed since the first NASCAR event was held at Pocono Raceway. The Tricky Triangle, as it’s known in racing circles, measures two and a half miles long and will present unique challenges for drivers. With its unorthodox track design, Pocono stands out from other races on the schedule. The tri-oval superspeedway has the longest front stretch in American Motorsports at 3,740 feet. It is even more important here to have a good setup and a crew that is capable of making chassis adjustments than it is at other tracks. There are 160 laps scheduled for Sunday (which works out to 40 DraftKings points for laps led).
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Practice & Qualifying
The Cup Series will hold a group practice session on Saturday morning. The practice session will last approximately an hour before qualifying begins. Both groups will compete in single-car qualifying, consisting of a timed lap for each driver. In the second round of qualifying, the five fastest drivers from each group will attempt their best lap time. The driver with the quickest time will earn the Busch Pole. Defending Pocono champion Kyle Busch could use a win here, having dealt with non-stop talk about his contract situation.
This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Lond Pond, Pennsylvania. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend
Kyle Larson (13,000 FD | 9,800 DK)
With a 14th-place run last weekend coming off the heels of a 13th-place finish at Atlanta, Larson has been struggling a bit lately. Even so, the two races leading up to Atlanta were promising. Both Nashville and Road America saw him finish in the top four. His last three visits to Pocono have been solid, with a pair of top fives. He finished with the runner-up on the backend of last June’s doubleheader. Just the day prior, he was on his way to a probable win. Unfortunately, a blown tire on the final lap ruined any chance of that coming to fruition.
He looks like a strong candidate to break out of his mini-slump this weekend. To find him dropping three straight finishes outside of the top 10, you would have to go all the back to March at the COTA. Larson won’t have that heavy chalk on him this weekend as a lot of the luster from last season has fallen off.
Denny Hamlin (12,500 FD | 10,400 DK)
With Hamlin’s recent struggles, that sixth place finish at New Hampshire was welcomed. He is locked into the playoffs, so no worries on that score. However, a few more solid runs could go a long way towards building up confidence before the round of 16. With six wins in his career at Pocono, Hamlin leads all drivers outside of Jeff Gordon who also has six. Hamlin most recently picked up wins in back-to-back years in 2019 and 2020. He’s also led the second most laps here over the last six visits with 104. Hamlin should again be able to make mince meat of the tricky triangle and give himself every opportunity to challenge for a win.
Daniel Suarez (8,000 FD | 7,900 DK)
Despite Ross Chastain being the major success story at Trackhouse Racing this season, give Suarez his due. He has begun to make some noticeable strides of his own. Since winning that surprise race at Sonoma, Suarez has consistently placed well. While did he finish 15th at Nashville, Suarez has placed inside the top ten in each of his last three finishes. Before picking up his first career Cup win at Sonoma this year, his best finish was at Pocono. In 2018, he placed runner-up here after having led 29 laps. At just 7,900 DraftKing dollars, Suarez will look like a steal if he can maintain that momentum from the last few races.
Brad Keselowski (7,200 FD | 7,300 DK)
After surviving a round of bumper cars with Austin Dillon on lap 163, Keselowski still managed to secure his best finish of the year. Keselowski has been successful at Pocono in the past. Although he hasn’t won here since 2011, he has come close several times. In last year’s June race at Pocono, he finished on the podium and led 31 laps. Six races remain until the playoffs begin, and he is 29th in points. As a result, the No. 6 driver faces a win or home situation. A Keselowski victory may knock Martin Truex Jr out of that last transfer spot.
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