There are a great many races scheduled for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, however the 21st stop of the year is definitely one of the most exciting, and for drivers one of the most intense and grueling races on the circuit. With just six races left before the beginning of The Chase for the Championship takes off, the action at Pocono on August 7th is certain to be highly contested during the 200-lap race around the 2.5 mile circuit, and a number of drivers stand a chance to prevail in such a long distance affair. Coming off an exciting weekend of action at the Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the progression to the similar style of race set-up at Pocono looks to favor those racers who had a good showing last weekend, and could give sports betting fans a solid background for whom to pick ahead of Sunday’s race day.
The big standout that most NASCAR buffs point to as a favorite for this weekend is Jeff Gordon. He finished 2nd in last week’s Brickyard 400, won the 5 Hour Energy 500 at Pocono on June 12th, and is tied for the most number of victories (5) on this circuit. A win on Sunday could see him surpass a tie with Bill Elliot’s record and would see him become the first driver since Denny Hamlin in 2006 to sweep the season at Pocono.
Speaking of Hamlin, he also comes in as a potential driver worth wagering on, based on his prior success at this track. However, Hamlin has struggled a little this season, sitting currently 11th in the Sprint Cup Series standings and finishing 27th last weekend at Indy. Being that he’s got four victories under his belt on this track, and he’s considered one of the best flat-track drivers in the business, a hungry Hamlin could turn into a good wagering options at one of the top sportsbooks reviewed here, once the betting lines are put up. Being a superstitious man, between my favorite number 11, the #11 car of Hamlin, and him sitting 11th in the polls coming into this race, I might find myself inclined to wager on Denny Hamlin becoming the 3rd driver in history with 5 wins at this storied race facility.
Is any NASCAR conversation about favorites for a given race complete without the mention of Jimmy Johnson? I think not. Johnson is quietly sitting second in the points standings for the Sprint Cup, and based on his two wins at Pocono as well as seven top-five and thirteen top-ten finishes, Finding Johnson among the top-three at the end of Sunday seems highly likely.
Other worthwhile considerations for drivers to wager on this weekend would have to include Carl Edwards, the Sprint Cup Standings leader (2 wins at Pocono, five top-five finishes), and Kurt Busch (finished second behind Jeff Gordon in the 5 Hour Energy 500, 2 wins at Pocono as well). In this long of race however, there’s always the possibility of a wild card emerging from a wreckage or simple misfortune (such as Denny Hamlin’s flat tire that took him out of the running after leading 76 laps), so make sure to closely watch which cars are running well, and who’s got the best fuel efficiency heading into this long and tiring race. No doubt for NASCAR fans and sports fans alike, this Sunday’s race at Pocono should provide plenty of great excitement regardless of whether or not you’ve been tuned into the NASCAR series so far this year.