This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Pocono Organics 325 & Pocono 350
Location: Long Pond, Pa.
Course: Pocono Raceway
Format: 2.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 130 Saturday, 140 Sunday
The NASCAR Cup series will run a weekend double-header this week at Pocono Raceway with races on both Saturday and Sunday. The teams had a short turnaround to prepare for this first-of-its-kind schedule in this series. The pandemic has played havoc on the calendar, and we've seen a handful of back-to-back races at tracks, but this weekend will have two full races in two days and was scheduled this way when the calendar was initially revealed. The benefit to consecutive races is that fantasy players will be able to use data from Saturday to plan their lineups for Sunday. Pocono's two annual races usually are only separated by a month anyway, but this year we can consider Saturday's race as more of a warm-up for Sunday.
Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin won at the track last year, and Toyota has won the last five. Both Busch and Hamlin had quick cars last week at Talladega, but it was Ryan Blaney who made it to the finish line first to capture his first win of the season, joining teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the winner's column. Blaney has been one of the fastest cars all season and, as a prior winner here in 2017, he could be one driver with the potential to end Toyota's dominance at the triangular circuit.
Key Stats at Pocono Raceway
- Number of races: 84
- Winners from pole: 16
- Winners from top-5 starters: 49
- Winners from top-10 starters: 60
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
- Fastest race: 145.384 mph
Previous 10 Pocono Winners
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
2018 fall - Kyle Busch
2018 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
2017 fall - Kyle Busch
2017 spring - Ryan Blaney
2016 fall - Chris Buescher
2016 spring - Kurt Busch
2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
Pocono Raceway is a long track with three unique corners that force teams to compromise their setups. The long straights will expose any engines down on horsepower to the competition, and getting off the turns with the most momentum possible is the key to making passes stick. The long lap distance allows for unique strategies to be played early and often. If a team doesn't start inside the top 10 they will almost certainly need that strategy play to leapfrog forward since passing at the track can be difficult. Gaining spots on pit road will be a big advantage because of that, and only twice in the last 12 races has someone who started outside of the top 10 gone on to win.
Keep in mind that fantasy players this week will see two different driver salaries in the two DraftKings contests, while FanDuel's salaries are the same for both races. I will focus the first lineup option on Saturday's prices with the normal higher-risk lineup being replaced by my best option for Sunday's contests.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Saturday Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Busch (DK $9,300, FD $13,500) and Joe Gibbs Racing have been nothing short of impressive at Pocono Raceway in recent seasons. Fantasy owners will want to take advantage of his lower price for Saturday's race in which he will start fourth. Ryan Blaney (DK $9,000, FD $11,800) could be in store for a wave of success after finally getting his breakthrough 2020 win last week. He should be competitive in both races this weekend but may pose a slightly more potent value at Saturday's price. Another Joe Gibbs Racing driver getting a heavy discount for Saturday is Denny Hamlin (DK $8,800, FD $13,000). Hamlin has five wins at this track and already has three wins so far this season. Talladega's effort could signal a reversal of fortune for Alex Bowman (DK $8,300, FD $10,600). He was experiencing a dip in results, but his seventh-place finish last week gave him two top-10 finishes in the last three races. He finished third at Pocono in 2018. Tyler Reddick (DK $7,400, FD $8,400) has been quite impressive this year. He finished sixth and ninth in his two Xfinity series Pocono starts. John Hunter Nemechek (DK $6,000, FD $6,500) could also be a good value Saturday as he will be on a more level playing field with the bigger teams than he will be on Sunday. He has two Xfinity series starts at the track with an average result of 9.5.
Sunday Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
After honing in his setup and strategy through Saturday's race, we should all expect to see Kyle Busch (DK $11,000, FD $13,500) be even stronger Sunday. His finish position from Saturday could be an indicator of even further fantasy value for Sunday if he doesn't score a top-five and starts deeper in the field for Sunday's return. Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,800, FD $12,500) is another driver from whom fantasy owners should expect a stronger Sunday showing. He has two track victories and finished third in the second race here in 2019. Kurt Busch (DK $8,300, FD $9,800) could be a huge value Sunday considering he has three Pocono wins. He has been scoring consistent top-10 finishes this season and should be a contender again this weekend. Erik Jones (DK $7,400, FD $10,000) may be showing signs of life after a good showing at Talladega. The back-to-back races this week should give him what he needs to fine tune his approach for Sunday to continue building on that momentum. Aric Almirola's (DK $7,200, FD $9,000) 2020 slump has firmly been thrown out the window with back-to-back top-five finishes in the last two races. Fantasy players may not expect another top-five this week, but his competitive pace appears to be back, which could put him in position for a top-10 or top-15 on Sunday. While Pocono has not been the best track for Austin Dillon (DK $6,000, FD $7,300) in the past, he has been running well so far this season with four top-10s already in 2020.