Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Party at the Poconos 400 Preview

How about Hamlin at Pocono again?
We’re at the halfway point of the season before NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship starts and a few drivers are going to have to make some things happen quickly if they want to be part of NASCAR’s playoffs. The top-10 drivers in the standings are all guaranteed a spot in the Chase, and two wild card spots will offered to drivers sitting 11 through 20 that have the most wins.

Tony Stewart enhanced his chances of making the Chase by winning last week at Dover. He is the only driver currently sitting in the 11-20 position in points to have a win, and as each of the next 13 races passes, he can start to lower his magic number.

Stewart, who has been awful all season, captured his first top-5 of the season with his Dover win, but this is supposed to be the time of year when he takes his game to another level, and this week’s race at Pocono should help him continue his upward progression. He’s won twice on the tricky 2.5-mile triangle layout at Pocono and has finished fifth or better in six of his past nine starts there.

One of the drivers outside the top-20 in points who needs great finishes, and wins, every week is Denny Hamlin. Last week at Dover, Hamlin led three times for 43 laps, and looked to be in position to possibly get his first win of the season, but then got involved in an accident relegating him to a 34th-place finish and dropping him to 26th in points.

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