2008 Pocono 500 Preview and Picks

Race: Pocono 500
Date: Sunday June 8, 2008
Track: Pocono Raceway
Time: 12:30 pm ET
Channel: TNT

I’m going to take a huge gamble this weekend at Pocono and put some money on Kyle Busch. Ha! We all know that’s not too big of a risk these days. Heck, if you placed him the top 5 somewhere, you’re going to win some money. Either way, we are here at Pocono, the infamous tri-oval that Jeff Gordon does not necessarily get along with. Pocono tends to be one of the more unpredictable tracks in terms of who stays in the race. There are crazy wrecks and weird mechanical problems that always seem to plague the drivers. Tony Stewart has been wrecked and HAS wrecked on more than one occasion as has Jeff Gordon. Gordon seems to suffer brake problems every time he gets to this track though. He suffered quite possible one of the hardest hits of his career at this very track.

Pocono is different because it is very clearly a triangle. Thus, there are 3 turns and 2 straights with negligible banking. The track is 2.5 miles and gets the best of drivers out of sorts. When it comes to picking a winner here, looking at past winners is not necessarily the key. Like I said, there is such an element of unpredictability here that no one can imagine! It’s generally a great race because one minute someone like Stewart is leading and the next minute he’s spun out by Jeff Gordon. The top drivers seem to get the best of each other here and fights are eminent. Feelings do get hurt here because team loyalty has been thrown to the wayside at some points.


Speaking of team loyalty, Gibbs teammates Busch, Stewart, and Hamlin are ALWAYS very good here. In fact, Denny Hamlin swept the poles and the wins in the 2006 season. Stewart is just great here regardless. He has a win from back in 2003, but definitely has his eyes on the prize this weekend. He’s had too many occasions of being wrecked this season and he needs this win; not to mention the fact that he’s coming off a win at Eldora last night. It may be a dirt track race for the fans, but that win definitely adds some morale to a team that is on short supply right now. As for Kyle Busch, what is there to say really? I mean, he’s got a shot at the win no matter what the race is or where it’s at. It’s Kyle Busch. He seems unbeatable and one of the most determined drivers I’ve ever seen. He can drive the wheels off those cars.

I’m going with the Gibbs boys this week. Any of the three have a shot at the win, but I am going to put my money on Denny Hamlin. He’s been strong all year and this track is one of his favorites. Busch would be my second choice with Stewart rounding out the top three.

Here’s how the points look right now:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jeff Burton
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Carl Edwards
5. Greg Biffle
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Tony Stewart
12. Kasey Kahne

Stewart needs this win to stay in the top twelve. I mean, if he doesn’t make the chase again, we could have the top 14 rule implemented for next year! I hope you Stewart fans don’t take that too personally, just a stab at one of the greatest. Anyway, I think that Gibbs boys are going to have an awesome weekend. Don’t rule out Jeff Gordon. If he can manage to keep his brakes in good shape, he has a shot at a win. He’s been more consistent and more focused in the past few weeks and could pull through with his first win of 2008 right here.