Thursday, July 26, 2018

Pocono Betting Preview: 2018 Gander Outdoors 400

Kyle Busch grabbed his first Pocono win last July.
For the second time this season the NASCAR Cup Series will visit Pocono Raceway's 2.5-mile tricky triangle, the most unique track on the circuit with three differing turns, one flatter than the other with Turn 3 being the flattest.

Sunday's Gander Outdoors 400 will the be the 21st of 36 races this season and so far three drivers have combined to win 15 of the first 20 races, one of which was Martin Truex Jr. in the June 3 Pocono race. He has four wins on the season, three of which have come in the last seven races a run that started at Pocono. Yes, last seasons champ has elevated himself to the highest status with Kevin Harvick, who has six wins, and Kyle Busch who has five wins. They are the Big-3.

"A lot of people talk about it and especially here lately," said Truex of being part of the Big-3. "It’s been a big topic of conversation, but for me I’m just honestly living in the moment, trying to enjoy myself, but also staying focused and not taking it for granted. It’s really hard to continue what we’ve done and I realize how much work it takes and how many people I owe it to, so, you know, for me just trying to stay focused, kind of block all that out and keep getting the job done is what’s most important.

"Certainly, it’s been really great the last couple years. I talk about it a lot, it’s been amazing and I don’t want it to stop any time soon. So got to continue to work hard to stay on top and, you know, got a great team obviously and that’s what it takes at this level. You’ve got to have every piece of the puzzle and everybody’s got to be working hard and working together.”

Truex will be going for his third Pocono win Sunday and attempt to be the seventh driver to sweep a Pocono season, the last being Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2014. He's never won at a track three times in his career. The Westgate SuperBook has him listed at 7/2 odds to win behind co-favorites Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch at 5/2 odds.

Harvick has never won at Pocono in 35 starts, but he led the most laps (89) in June's race before finishing fourth and he's bringing a chassis that has never finished worse than fourth in five starts, which includes a Las Vegas win in March.

“As we go to Pocono, we obviously want to win there, especially since its one of the two tracks we haven’t won at," said Harvick who was runner-up in both Pocono races last season. "I know that Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and the organization itself has put a lot of effort into this particular weekend trying to get to victory lane and take that race off the list. It’s a place I enjoy going – not so much the place I enjoyed going in my previous life before I came to Stewart-Haas Racing. It was never a track we ran very well at, but we’ve come to find out that if you have the cars where they need to be and the people around you, things are much different. So, Pocono is a place that I’ve learned to enjoy more than I did in my previous life at RCR.”

Harvick has run nine races with SHR and six of them resulting in finishes of fourth or better. He's definitely due and he's got a sick-fast ride with stats that burst out of the (Daily) Racing Form this week.


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