|Can Chevy win again at Pocono over dominant JGR Toyotas?|
We should have a leg up on handicapping Sunday's Pocono race because we've already done the process needed twice this season, including last weeks prep work for the Brickyard 400. Mix in what happened June 6 in the first Pocono run and you should be armed with just about everything needed prior to Friday and Saturday's important practices.
Because Pocono and Indy are both 2.5-mile tracks with the longest straights in the series, we can lump them together as being similar even though Indy is rectangular with four equally flat turns and Pocono is triangular with banking that gets progressively flatter at each turn. If a driver does well at one of the places, they're likely to do well at the other.
So let's recap the information gathered from those two races where all the teams notes are still fresh and relevant. Kurt Busch won at Pocono in June for his only win of the season and third overall on the track. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second, Brad Keselowski third and Chase Elliott led a race-high 51 laps before finishing fourth. Four of the top-six finishers were Chevrolet with the Penske Fords taking the other two spots. Matt Kenseth, who won at Pocono last fall, was the highest finishing Toyota in seventh. A Chevrolet has won seven of the last eight at Pocono.
Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas came in fast off the hauler last week at Indy with three of its cars finishing in the top-four, including Kyle Busch winning there for the second consecutive season. Kenseth would finish second, Jimmie Johnson third and Denny Hamlin fourth. The new low downforce package produced some crummy racing with only four lead changes among three drivers as Busch led 149 of the 160 laps. It was impossible to pass.
Chevrolet has been strong at both Pocono and Indy in recent years, but if looking at last season as an example, Toyota has made a considerable move. After Kyle Busch ended a 12-year Chevrolet win streak at the Brickyard, Kenseth won at Pocono the next week to end a six race Chevrolet win streak. Because Indianapolis happened most recent, we should look to last week as being just bit more important than the June Pocono race.
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