Gander RV 400 Picks – 2019 Race Analysis
Race: Gander RV 400
Date: Sunday, July 28, 2019
Track: Pocono Raceway
Time: 3 pm ET
What We Learned From Last Week
Well, well, well. It looks like Kevin Harvick took Denny Hamlin for a bumpy ride in the closing lap of the New Hampshire race. FINALLY! We got to see what NASCAR has been missing for quite some time. Kevin Harvick moved Denny Hamlin to claim his first victory in 2019 in the Monster Energy Cup Series. This win was Harvick’s 4th at the Magic Mile. He ties Jeff Burton with most wins at this track. The call that won the race was from Harvick’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, who kept Harvick on the track with old tires. Denny Hamlin came in for right sides, which allowed him to get to Harvick’s bumper in the closing lap, but it just wasn’t enough to pass. Maybe with another half a lap, Hamlin could’ve overtaken Harvick, but Harvick was just aggressive enough to keep Hamlin from the checkers.
Here’s something that I took issue with during the race, though. On the restart at the end of stage 2, Aric Almirola and Joey Logano were at the front of the pack. If you watch the restart, Almirola VERY clearly brake checked the field. Um, NASCAR, hey, that’s not allowed. For some reason, NASCAR decided to basically not do anything. They gave Almirola a warning, and I thought that was pretty hilarious. Logano wasn’t too impressed with NASCAR’s decision either. Steve O’Donnell (who is not my favorite person, to begin with) assured Logano that NASCAR would review the move this week. He claimed that they don’t know the exact speed of the cars on restarts, etc. so they are unable to make a call right then and there. Quite frankly, I call BS. I think that NASCAR botched that call again. From what I see, I think that NASCAR tends to have a problem with accountability and to own up to their bad calls.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
This weekend, drivers and teams are headed to probably one of the least favorite tracks on the circuit. Pocono, or the Tricky Triangle, is forever plagued by rain. It is also well known for long green flag runs, with the leader pulling away from the field for a lead that extends for several seconds. It is generally an uneventful race, frequently shortened or postponed until the following Monday due to the forecast. Currently, though, the conditions for Sunday’s race look rather promising. I’m going to hold on to that. I’m going to hope that the current 84 degrees and sunny sticks. If it does, it will give us track conditions that the drivers aren’t too used to and could provide us with a decent race. This superspeedway is a 2.5-mile asphalt oval. It has 14 degrees of banking in turn 1, 9 degrees in turn 2, and 6 degrees in turn 3.
As you can see, it’s relatively flat. Speeds can still get pretty high here, but with the new aero package, we aren’t going to see the 200mph+ that we used to. Regardless, look for the speeds to be high and the pack to spread out. Tires get worn here due to the long green flag runs, so I imagine that we’re going to see a lot of 4 tire stops when the drivers do pit. Besides tires, the weather seems to be the other biggest factor. If there’s rain in the forecast, you can expect that pit strategies will be adjusted accordingly.
My Gander RV 400 Value Picks
If we’re looking at potential winners, there will likely be stiff competition as only six races are remaining in the regular season. Drivers are still trying to lock themselves into the Playoffs and also trying to gain valuable stage points to give them an advantage. Overall, Kyle Busch will be the driver to beat this weekend. With him having won three of the last four races at Pocono, including the previous two, he’s going to be hard to beat. He’s got Pocono figured out and is definitely itching for another win and some redemption over his big brother. There will undoubtedly be competition from the likes of Kevin Harvick, with a streak of 5 top 5 finishes, Truex Jr., who was the last driver prior to Kyle to win, and Keselowski and Logano from the Penske team because, well, horsepower. Let’s take a look at your potential winners heading into Pocono with their current betting odds at MyBookie:
Favorite Pick: Kyle Busch (5-2)
Middle of the Road Pick: Denny Hamlin (10-1)
Dark Horse Play: William Byron (80-1)
Byron might seem a little far-fetched, but he’s managed to finish in the top 10 in the last two races he’s run here. He’s only had three total starts at Pocono, but he’s getting better and better. Denny Hamlin is a solid pick at Pocono with plenty of experience. With the win virtually stolen from him by Harvick last weekend, Hamlin will most definitely be searching for redemption. Kyle Busch will be driving away from the field, though. He’s looking to top the points and gain even more heading into the playoffs. Busch is exceptionally competitive and will undoubtedly give everyone a run for their money. Let’s take a look at where the drivers are standing after New Hampshire.
Driver Standings - Odds to Win At Pocono
- Joey Logano (14-1)
- Kyle Busch (5-2)
- Kevin Harvick (5-1)
- Denny Hamlin (10-1)
- Brad Keselowski (5-1)
- Martin Truex Jr. (5-1)
- Kurt Busch (25-1)
- Chase Elliott (16-1)
- Aric Almirola (40-1)
- Alex Bowman (50-1)
- Ryan Blaney (20-1)
- William Byron (80-1)
- Kyle Larson (20-1)
- Erik Jones (20-1)
- 1Ryan Newman (200-1)
- 1Clint Bowyer (25-1)
I mean, I know that Byron isn’t a favorite by any means, but he’s a young driver that’s proving he’s worth his weight. With 80-1 odds at BetOnline, you could win a pretty penny if he manages to get into victory lane. This is Pocono, and anything is possible when it comes to strategy due to weather. Don’t count him out. The other drivers will be chasing Mr. Favorite himself, Kyle Busch. He will undoubtedly make his way to the front and use all necessary tactics to get a win. Stay tuned for a great (and hopefully sunny!) Sunday of racing at Pocono Raceway!