Saturday, June 6, 2015

Final Pocono Practice Notes: Harvick has best car, but Edwards, Larson not far behind

Carl Edwards looks to have a great shot at keeping Harvick from win
LAS VEGAS -- Kevin Harvick may not have a win at Pocono Raceway in 28 career starts, but that could change in Sunday’s Axalta 400. He put on a show during Saturday’s final practices, not only posting the fastest single lap in both sessions, but also the fastest 10-consecutive lap average during ’happy hour’.

Friday practices: Speeds slow at Pocono

Based on nine top-two finishes in the 13 races run so far this season, his edge in horsepower and Saturday’s awesome display, he is the driver to beat despite never winning on the ’Tricky Triangle’. Last season, remember, Dale Earnhardt Jr. came into this race having never won in 28 career starts and went on to sweep the season at Pocono. Both Harvick and Junior drive Chevys and both use Hendrick engines. Harvick had also never won at Las Vegas before crossing it off his list in March, where his engine and set-up trumped whatever happened in the past.

Harvick is going to be tough to beat. He’s going to lead a bunch of laps, just as he’s done almost everywhere, but the one shining hope for bettors going against his No. 4 this week in that he’s won only two races this season. Yes, he’s a monster, but he’s finished second to someone else seven times. That could be the case again this week, and a candidate to win at longer odds looks to be Kyle Larson, who had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average in Saturday’s early practice. He was second to Harvick in the category during the later session, as well as single lap speeds.

We’re not sure we can trust what we’ve seen out of Larson in practice this week because his times don’t always transfer to race day. However, this was his best practice of the season, and he finished fifth and 11th in the two Pocono races last season. If there wasn’t a trust issue with Larson, he would be rated No. 2 behind Harvick.

Carl Edwards had an outstanding practice as well and starts from the front row, which is important, because if he can get out front in clean air, he might be hard to catch. He‘s won at Pocono twice over his career and is fresh off a huge Coca-Cola 600 win in Charlotte, the last big horsepower track run at. There are only 160 laps in this race, so it’ll be over quickly, and start position plays a major role with passing expected to be difficult.

The driver starting from the pole is two-time Pocono winner Kurt Busch, who didn’t have as good a practice as teammate Harvick, but could utilize his start position as a huge advantage. Over 74 Pocono races, the pole winner has won 15 times (20.2 percent), the most of any start position. He likes this track a lot and has finished third in two of his past three starts there.

Read More Here....Final Driver Ratings

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