Track position reigns supreme at Pocono Raceway with the low downforce package, and because of that, qualifying up front is more important than ever at “The Tricky Triangle.” If you look back to the race here last month, all of the drivers that qualified 7th or better ended up finishing inside the top 10, and chances are that’s what is going to happen today at Pocono as well. In addition to that, NASCAR did same-day qualifying this weekend, so teams only have a couple of hours to get ready for the race, as opposed to the normal full day. Because of that, this FOX Fantasy Auto article is going to be shortened by a significant amount compared to normal, as all Fantasy NASCAR players–myself included–will be in a major time crunch trying to get rosters in before the Overton’s 400 goes green.
My team points last week (Indianapolis): 133
Overall team standings: 284th
Total team points for the season: 3,428
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 Pocono 2 Race
Martin Truex, Jr. ($9,700) – Truex qualified 2nd for today’s Overton’s 400 so there’s no room for place differential fantasy points in FOX, but at a cost of only $9,700, it’s hard to pass on a driver that has a shot to win the race. The #78 team will be out on a mission today to prove that they can overcome the obstacles placed in front of them this weekend–pit crew members suspended, loss of practice time–and their car is good enough to do that. Truex won here at Pocono in 2015 and wound up 6th here last month.
Matt Kenseth ($10,100) – The #20 Toyota came out fast off the truck this weekend (fastest in opening practice) and that is a good sign for Matt Kenseth Fantasy NASCAR owners. As far as FOX Fantasy Auto goes, Kenseth qualified back in 15th, so he should be able to pick up a nice amount of place differential points in addition to solid finish points (I’m projecting mid-30s). The #20 Toyota has ended up inside the top 10 in four of the last five races here at Pocono, including a win in this race two years ago.
Brad Keselowski ($10,100) – This FOX Fantasy Auto pick is one that I am not incredibly confident about, but at the same time, Keselowski’s history here at Pocono Raceway isn’t something that you can just overlook. Kez won here back in 2011 and has been solid at “The Tricky Triangle” ever since; the Blue Deuce hasn’t finished worse than 5th in the last four races here, and Brad has ended up 6th or better in seven of the last ten. Keselowski will start from 11th place today and should be able to pick up some place differential points on the way to a good finish.
Chase Elliott ($9,600) – Chase Elliott isn’t the best driver when it comes to qualifying at Pocono Raceway, but he has two finishes of 8th or better in his three career Cup starts here, so he obviously knows how to get around this track. The #24 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 13th when today’s Overton’s 400 goes green and should be well within the top 10 when it’s all said and done. Elliott was the 5th-fastest car during the Happy Hour practice session on Saturday, and this #24 team has been pretty solid as of late, with six finishes of 11th or better in the last eight Cup Series races overall, with the only exceptions being Daytona 2 and last week’s Indianapolis race, where Chase blew an engine.
Other viable options: Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Jimmie Johnson ($10,700) – As of 1 pm ET on race day, over 37% of FOX Fantasy Auto players had Jimmie Johnson on their team. And while he’s not a terrible pick this weekend, there’s a lot to be concerned about. The first question that needs to be answered is whether or not this #48 team is still in test mode, as they haven’t finished better than 10th since the Dover race in early June. Additionally, Johnson hasn’t had a result better than 16th here at Pocono in the last three races. Johnson qualified 14th for today’s race but didn’t show a lot more speed than that in practice.