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Pocono projections

8/2/2014

Here are the projections for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono. Our projection system takes into account, among other factors, drivers’ past performances at the current track, pre-race on-track activity (practices and qualifying) and probability of finishing the race. All of the data is then adjusted for the track type (in this case, a 2.5-mile tri-oval superspeedway) and time of year.

• Brad Keselowski was so close to winning at Pocono earlier this season, but debris on the front of his car caused him to slow down to avoid overheating and allowed Dale Earnhardt Jr. to overtake him for the win. Keselowski is a favorite to win this time as he was consistently the quickest driver in June and ranked in the top three in all three practices this week. However, he’ll have to contend with Kurt Busch, who has finished third or better in four of the last six Pocono races.

• Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- who is tied for the series lead in top-5s and top-10s -- will try to be the first driver to sweep a season’s races at Pocono since Denny Hamlin did so in 2006. Earnhardt Jr. has never led the series in either category in a single season, and just three seasons ago ranked outside the top 10 in both.

• Hendrick Motorsports has won the last four Pocono races (each with a different driver), becoming just the second team in NASCAR Cup Series history to do that at a track. Although they won’t extend the streak to five (they cannot because all four current drivers have already won during the streak), they can extend Hendrick’s track record with a 17th NSCS win at Pocono.