Crunching The Numbers: Pocono & Iowa

After a weekend of racing at the Brickyard for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series and a Wednesday night of dirt racing at Eldora for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, all three series head off to new destinations this week with the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series heading to Pocono and the Nationwide Series heading back to Iowa Speedway for the second time this season.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono Raceway

From the rectangular shaped Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend to the triangular shaped Pocono Raceway this weekend, this section of the Sprint Cup Series schedule takes the drivers to tracks that are anything but your run-of-the-mill oval. Especially Pocono, with its three distinct turns all based off of turns from three different tracks. Turn 1 is based off of Trenton Speedway, Turn 2 is based off of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Turn 3 is based off of The Milwaukee Mile. Many say that drivers who run well at Indianapolis tend to run well at Pocono, so at the end of 400 miles on Sunday, we’ll see if that holds true.


American Muscle
Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Jimmie Johnson 23 3 10 16 2 690 9.0 8.7
Jeff Gordon 41 6 18 28 2 965 11.4 10.2
Denny Hamlin 15 4 8 10 2 663 6.3 10.5
Tony Stewart 29 2 12 21 2 156 12.7 11.0
Mark Martin 53 0 20 34 3 448 9.4 11.2
Ryan Newman 23 1 8 11 2 182 10.3 12.0
Carl Edwards 17 2 5 8 0 221 18.0 13.5
Kevin Harvick 25 0 5 9 0 5 19.2 13.9
Matt Kenseth 27 0 3 10 0 54 18.0 14.7
Brad Keselowski 7 1 2 2 0 31 18.1 14.7

Who To Watch: Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson seems to be having another one of those championship caliber seasons this year with his 75 point advantage heading into this weekend, so it’s no surprise that he leads all active drivers at Pocono. In 23 starts, Johnson has three wins, 10 top fives, 16 top tens, two poles, 690 laps led, and an average finish of 8.7. Let’s not forget just how dominant Johnson was during his June Pocono win. If anyone is going to win this race, Johnson will be the man to beat.

Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jeff Gordon, also has an impressive career at Pocono with six wins, 18 top fives, 28 top tens, two poles, 965 laps led, and an average finish of 10.2 in 41 starts.

Others who run well at Pocono include: Denny Hamlin, with four wins, eight top fives, 10 top tens, two poles, 663 laps led, and an average finish of 10.5 in 15 starts; Tony Stewart, with two wins, 12 top fives, 21 top tens, two poles, 156 laps led, and an average finish of 11.0 in 29 starts; Mark Martin, with 20 top fives, 34 top tens, three poles, 448 laps led, and an average finish of 11.2 in 53 starts; and winner of last weekend’s race at Indianapolis, Ryan Newman, with one win, eight top fives, 11 top tens, two poles, 182 laps led, and an average finish of 12.0 in 23 starts.

NASCAR Nationwide Series – U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa

For the second time this season the Nationwide Series heads to Iowa Speedway for a standalone event on the short track. With the Sprint Cup Series in Pocono for the weekend, the Nationwide regulars will practically have the track to themselves, except for a Cup regular or two that will be making the double duty trip down to Iowa.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Brad Keselowski 3 1 3 3 0 151 8.3 2.7
Elliott Sadler 5 1 5 5 3 100 3.2 2.8
Kyle Larson 1 0 1 1 0 0 10.0 5.0
Regan Smith 1 0 0 1 0 0 5.0 7.0
Sam Hornish Jr. 4 0 2 2 0 91 3.5 10.8
Justin Allgaier 7 0 1 5 0 150 6.6 10.9
Parker Kligerman 2 0 0 1 0 0 11.0 11.0
Austin Dillon 5 0 2 3 1 260 5.8 11.8
Michael Annett 7 0 1 2 0 6 20.3 13.0
Cole Whitt 3 0 0 1 0 4 14.3 14.0

Who To Watch: As the only Cup regular in the field, Brad Keselowski also boasts the best statistics in the Nationwide Series at Iowa. In three starts, Keselowski has one win, three top fives, three top tens, 151 laps led, and an average start of 2.7. The No. 22 car that Keselowski will be driving has won three times previously this season, so Keselowski should be strong on Saturday night once again.

Elliott Sadler is the top Nationwide regular at Iowa with one win, five top fives, five top tens, three poles, 100 laps led, and an average finish of 2.8 in five starts.

Others who run well at Iowa include: Rookie Kyle Larson, who finished fifth in his lone start this season; Regan Smith, who had a top ten of his own earlier this season at Iowa with a seventh place finish; Austin Dillon, who was well on his way to a victory in the first race at Iowa this year before fading late, and has two top fives, three top tens, one pole, 260 laps led, and an average finish of 11.8 in five starts; Trevor Bayne will also be strong as he won the first race at the track this year by overtaking Dillon late in the race.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Pennsylvania Mountains 125 at Pocono

After a historic night of dirt racing last Wednesday night at Eldora, the Camping World Truck Series heads back to the pavement to take on the Tricky Triangle at Pocono. The Trucks have only been racing at Pocono for the last three seasons as a companion to the second Cup Series date at the track. There will be no Cup regulars racing this weekend, so who wins this race is pretty much up in the air as to who can get the job done on Saturday.

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Joey Coulter 2 1 1 2 0 7 8.0 2.5
Matt Crafton 3 0 2 3 0 0 13.3 5.0
James Buescher 3 0 2 2 0 6 7.3 5.3
Ty Dillon 1 0 0 1 0 0 2.0 6.0
John Wes Townley 1 0 0 1 0 0 11.0 8.0
Ross Chastain 1 0 0 1 0 0 20.0 10.0
Timothy Peters 3 0 0 2 0 2 10.7 13.3
Johnny Sauter 3 0 1 1 0 0 13.7 15.0
Miguel Paludo 2 0 0 0 0 0 8.5 16.0
Ron Hornaday Jr. 3 0 0 1 0 0 8.3 19.0

Who To Watch: Since the Truck Series has only run at Pocono for a few years now, the only winner at Pocono in the field is Joey Coulter, who has the one win, one top five, two top tens, seven laps led, and an average finish of 2.5 in two starts.

Others who have raced at Pocono previously and run well there include: Series points leader, Matt Crafton, who has two top fives, three top tens, and an average finish of 5.0 in three starts; 2012 champion James Buescher, with two top fives, two top tens, six laps led, and an average finish of 5.3 in three starts; and Ty Dillon, with a sixth place finish in his first start at the track last year.

Any conversation on who is likely to win a Truck Series race this season also has to include the rookies in the series who have been running strong all season long . So, Jeb Burton, Darrell Wallace Jr., and Ryan Blaney could find themselves in Victory Lane this weekend as well.


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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