To give a better look at just how similar Indy and Pocono are, let’s take a look at the results from last weeks race and the June 6 race at Pocono. Take top-15 finishers from the first Pocono race and then see where they finished last week. You’ll see that nine of them finished among the top-15 at Indy and two of them weren’t even Jimmie Johnson and Juan Montoya -- both of whom were in the top-10 at Indy and had two of the best cars last week only to finish poorly.
The correlation is strong between the two tracks, maybe even stronger than New Hampshire-Phoenix-Richmond mix or the high banked 1.5-mile SMI track correlation. If a driver does well on one, they are more than likely to do well on the other.
The chassis announcement will be released on Thursday which should sway betting interest dramatically. Regardless of what car he does eventually bring, Hamlin will still be the favorite based on his past success.
The driver that has had the best recent combined success at Pocono and Indy has been Tony Stewart. He finished third at Pocono in June and fifth last week at Indy making he and Kevin Harvick the only drivers to have top-five finishes in each race. Overall, Stewart has finished in the top-10 at Pocono in nine of his last 10 starts there which include two wins.
Harvick and the rest of Childress drivers have all finished within the top-10 of both Pocono and Indy races this season. Clint Bowyer finished fourth last week with Jeff Burton coming home in sixth. All three should be considered live candidates to win this week as each of their practice and race performances at the two tracks have been carbon copies of each other.
Kyle Busch finished runner-up in the June Pocono race and had a terrific day at Indy after spinning out of the first lap and salvaged an eighth-place finish. Pocono hasn’t been historically good for Busch, but his runs this season make him a good candidate this week.
The Roush drivers all looked vastly improved at Indy with Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards standing out the most. A Ford still hasn’t won the season, the manufacturer’s longest drought since the 1977 season. Edwards is a two-time winner at Pocono and is one of the nine drivers to have finished within the top-15 at both Pocono and Indy this season.
Jimmie Johnson is one of only two drivers to have a career average at Pocono within the top-10 (9.5). He hasn’t won at the track since sweeping both races in 2004, but he’s shown to be unbelievably efficient on the track by finishing 15 of his 16 career starts within the top-15. It’s surprising that he hasn’t won there in six seasons, especially when considering he’s won at the Brickyard on three occasions during his winless streak at Pocono. This week he’ll be using his Coca-Cola 600 chassis as his primary car while his back-up will be a car that has won three out of four career starts.