2019 has been the year of Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Out of the 13 races run this season, eight of them have been won by a JGR driver including five of the last seven overall.
With how well their drivers have performed at the Pocono Raceway – the site of this weekend’s race, they’re the favorites to land in victory lane yet again for Sunday’s Pocono 400 (2 p.m. ET/FS1/MRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kyle Busch finished third and first respectively at Pocono in 2018. He has three straight top three finishes on the 2.5-mile track in fact. On the season, he has three wins already as well. He’s going to be a threat to win on Sunday.
His teammate Martin Truex Jr. is too. He’s won three of the last five races on the season and is the defending race winner of this event at Pocono. Even Erik Jones has three top eight finishes in four Pocono tries.
Can anyone stop them?
If so, look for Brad Keselowski or Kevin Harvick to do so. Keselowski, won at Pocono in 2011 and has six top five finishes in his last seven tries. He also has eight top six finishes in his last 11 overall Pocono starts as well.
Harvick, has four runner-up finishes in his last nine Pocono starts. All came with SHR as he had no top three finishes in his previous stop with RCR. Over his last five starts, Harvick has finished fourth, second, second, fourth and fourth respectively. With how many fourth place runs he’s had in 2019, he’s heading to a top four again on Sunday.
But, those are just one driver each on two separate organizations. The best team coming has to be Hendrick Motorsports. Keselowski, called HMS the team with the most speed last weekend in Charlotte. They’re backing those claims up in fact.
Last weekend in Charlotte was the first time since 2016 that all four Hendrick cars finished in the top 10 in the same race. Now, they hope to keep the momentum going at a track that they’ve had some great success.
In the last race at Pocono last August, HMS finished 3-6-7-17. Last weekend in Charlotte they finished 4-7-8-9.
Chase Elliott has five top 10 finishes in six Pocono tries and has four straight top five finishes on the season.
Alex Bowman finished third in the August race last year to go along with four straight top seven finishes on the year including three of which being runner-ups.
William Byron finished sixth in last year’s August race and has two top 10 finishes in his last three starts on the year.
Jimmie Johnson has two straight top 10 finishes on the year but just one top 10 in his last six years at Pocono. Maybe he’s back this weekend.
If you look at Penske, yes they’ve won four times themselves, but Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney have struggled at times.
In Pocono, Blaney’s only top five finish of his career at Pocono came in his 2017 win. He did finish sixth and 12th respectively on this track last year but has five straight finishes outside of the top 10 on the season and six in his last seven points paying starts.
Logano, did win in 2012 but that with JGR. His last five Pocono finishes are 37th, 23rd, 27th, ninth and 26th respectively.
If anyone is going to stop JGR, the four Hendrick cars or Keselowski or Harvick are the best bets.