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Earnhardt Jr. seeks Poconos sweep on Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 8/3/2014  at  5:49:00 AM
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400

Sunday, August 3 – 1:00 p.m. EDT
Pocono Raceway – Long Pond, PA

For the second time in less than two months, the NASCAR drivers will try to maneuver around the “The Tricky Triangle” for Sunday's 400 at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. This superspeedway resides in the Pocono Mountains and its tri-oval shape measures 2.5 miles. Although the straightaways are all a nearly-flat 2° of banking, they all are measured at different lengths. The frontstretch is the longest at 3,740 feet, the backstretch is 3,055 feet, and the shortstretch is a mere 1,780 feet. Each turn has a different degree of difficulty. Turn 1 has 14° of banking, Turn 2 is just 8° and Turn 3 is the flattest at 6°. There have been 10 different winners in the past 12 races at Pocono, with Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon as the only two-time champions in the span. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took home the checkered flag in June at this track, while the winner of last year's 400 was Kasey Kahne.

Odds to Win Race

Brad Keselowski4-to-1
Jimmie Johnson5-to-1
Tony Stewart6-to-1
Jeff Gordon7-to-1
Kevin Harvick7-to-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr.8-to-1
Joey Logano10-to-1
Denny Hamlin10-to-1
Kasey Kahne12-to-1
Kyle Busch12-to-1
Kurt Busch15-to-1
Kyle Larson20-to-1
Matt Kenseth20-to-1
Ryan Newman25-to-1
Clint Bowyer40-to-1
Jamie McMurray60-to-1
Brian Vickers60-to-1
Greg Biffle60-to-1
Carl Edwards60-to-1
Martin Truex Jr.100-to-1
Austin Dillon100-to-1
Paul Menard100-to-1
FIELD (Any other driver)100-to-1
A.J. Allmendinger300-to-1
Justin Allgaier300-to-1
Marcos Ambrose300-to-1
Aric Almirola300-to-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.300-to-1
Danica Patrick300-to-1
Casey Mears300-to-1

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon (7/1) - Among all active drivers, only Jimmie Johnson (8.7) has a better career average finish at "The Tricky Trangle" than Gordon (10.0). Gordon has won six times at this track as part of 19 top-5's in 43 starts (44%). He also has 30 top-10 showings (70%) at this venue. This success is not all ancient history either, as Gordon won in 2011 and 2012, while finishing as the runner-up in last year's 400. He's also been strong this season, remaining in the top-six in the points standings in each of the past eight weeks thanks to a win at Martinsville. Of all the chalk out there on Sunday, put your largest wager on Gordon.

Carl Edwards (60/1) - I'm stunned that Edwards has such favorable odds, especially since he went off at 20-to-1 at this track in June. In his career at "The Tricky Triangle," Edwards has posted two wins (2005, 2008), five top-5's and an average finish of 14.8 over 19 starts. His four top-5's and eight top-10's this season have kept him among the top-8 drivers in the Points Standings. At this price, Edwards is certainly worthy of a sizable bet.

Matt Kenseth (20/1) - Kenseth is a great value play on Sunday, especially considering he got 10-to-1 odds both last fall and two months ago at this venue. He has not been very successful at this track with only three top-5's in 29 starts, but Kenseth has knocked out 4th-place finishes in three of his past four starts this year to move up to fourth in the current Points Standings. I see no reason Kenseth can't post his ninth top-5 finish of the season and compete for the title on Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8/1) - Earnhardt Jr. has a great chance to sweep the Poconos, which is why his price tag is so unfavorable to bettors. Over his past eight races, the No. 88 car has an average finish of 7.3, thanks to top-9 showings in six of these starts. Earnhardt has also fared extremely well on the Tricky Triangle recently. In his past seven starts at this venue, he has posted six top-9 showings, including three straight top-5 finishes. Go ahead and drop a unit on Earnhardt Jr. for Sunday.

Ryan Newman (25/1) - Another darkhorse for Sunday's race is Newman, who was tabbed with much less-favorable odds of 15-to-1 last summer at this venue. He has the fourth-best average finish (11.5) among active drivers at Pocono, helping this average out in June when he placed 7th at "The Tricky Triangle," to mark his sixth top-10 showing in his past seven starts at this venue. That race also started a nice run for Newman this year, as he has inched his way up to seventh in the Points Standings with a 10.9 average finish over the past seven starts.

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