Snapshot: Pocono 400
June 08, 2014, Pat DeCola, NASCAR.com
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What: Pocono 400
Where: Pocono Raceway
When: Sunday, June 8
Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV/Radio: TNT (Coverage begins at noon ET), MRN/Sirius XM (Channel 90)
Distance: 160 laps, 400 miles
Pit road speed: 55 mph
Caution speed: 70 mph
Fuel window: 35 laps
Avg. time of race: 2 hours, 55 minutes
On the front row:
1. Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing (181.415 mph)
2. Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing (181.408 mph)
Failed to qualify:
Defending Pocono 400 Champion:
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, No. 48 Chevrolet
Driver rating (based on data from the past nine years):
Jimmie Johnson, 109.3
Denny Hamlin, 109.1
Fastest in practice:
First practice: Brian Vickers, Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 Toyota (180.854 mph)
Second practice: Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing, No. 4 Chevrolet (177.291 mph)
Third practice: Harvick (175.606 mph)
Solid support system:
Hendrick Motorsports has been all but dominant in 2014 -- well, three of its teams have been. Kasey Kahne remains a winless enigma, but he's getting a push from his teammates and they think he'll win soon.
Shift in approach:
Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson has already impressed with his thrilling finishes in 2014, but there's still one piece of driving that the 21-year-old needs to fine tune -- his shifting. And how does he fix it? By being forced to drive a stick-shift Camaro around town, of course.
Sleepless in Pocono:
AJ Allmendinger and crew believe they have the greatest shot to make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Sonoma, and their testing reflects that. So much so that the team spent Tuesday through Thursday in California before taking a commercial red eye to Pocono and arriving just in time.
Points lead, shmoints lead:
Matt Kenseth recently took over the Sprint Cup Series points lead, despite being winless through the season's first 13 races. If you ask the 2003 champion, however, he'd trade his place in the point standings for a win.
Dehydration cramps drivers' style:
LeBron James famously had to be carried off the court due to cramps from dehydration in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, which led to some drivers talking about how hot they've been in their race cars. Jimmie Johnson, in particular, had a relatable story.
Does that go-kart come in pink?:
Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson thinks his young daughter, Genevieve, might soon be ready to get behind the wheel of a go-kart and continue the Johnson legacy.
Way back when:
Richard Petty won the first race at Pocono Raceway, then called Pocono International Raceway. At the time the Aug. 4, 1974 race -- the Purolator 500 -- was held, the event was 500 miles, compared to 400 for Sunday's race. Petty won by a whopping 18.8 seconds as the race was shortened to 192 laps due to rain. Drivers for Richard Petty Motorsports, Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose, will start 22nd and 29th in the Pocono 400, respectively.
Former Dover winners in the field:
Jeff Gordon (6); Denny Hamlin (4); Jimmie Johnson (3); Kasey Kahne (2); Carl Edwards (2); Tony Stewart (2); Kurt Busch (2); Brad Keselowski (1); Ryan Newman (1); Greg Biffle (1); Joey Logano (1)
Fantasy sleeper, presented by Rotowire :
Kyle Busch -- Busch struggled for many seasons at Pocono Raceway. However, he's been reversing those trends the last few seasons. Four of his last six visits to the Pennsylvania raceway have yielded Top-10 finishes. In 2013 alone, the Joe Gibbs Racing star earned sixth- and eighth-place finishes. We see this trend continuing in 2014 starting with this weekend's Pocono 400. Busch had a strong No. 18 Toyota at Dover this past weekend before unfortunate circumstances with the Clint Bowyer's Toyota ended his day prematurely. He should rebound well at Pocono Raceway.