Looped In

NASCAR Fantasy Live: Who to pick at Pocono

June 05, 2014, Mike Forde, NASCAR.com

Johnson a solid choice as he goes for three in a row; points leader Kenseth risky

Related: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live: Win $5,000

Since the turn of the century, a three-consecutive-race winning streak has occurred twice.

Both by Jimmie Johnson.

He first did it in 2004, winning three consecutive races during the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. (He finished second to Kurt Busch for that year’s championship.) Johnson repeated -- and added to -- the feat in 2007, winning four straight during the Chase, using it as a springboard to his second consecutive title.

That’s it. You have to go back to the last '90s for another three-in-a-row example.

This weekend, after wins at 1.5-mile Charlotte and one-mile Dover, the versatile Johnson can again win three straight at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway.

Top Picks

Jimmie Johnson, $28.00 -- Not surprisingly, Johnson maxed out this week at the ceiling salary of $28.00. He's well worth it. The defending champion of this event, Johnson leads the series in driver rating at 109.3, has finished in the top five in four of the last six Pocono races and all but guarantees you big bonus points -- he tallied double-digit figures in laps led and fastest laps run in each of the last three races.

Kevin Harvick, $26.75 -- Our reasoning behind a Harvick start: Just because. Harvick's not especially strong at Pocono, finishing outside the top 10 in four of the last five races. Still, this is a different Harvick. He leads the series in fastest laps run this season, and if he was even a tad lucky, he'd be a five-time winner this season.


Kasey Kahne, $24.74 -- This pick is based solely around last year's 36th-place finish. A problematic U-joint forced Kahne to take his No. 5 Chevrolet to the garage after one lap. The crew fixed the issue, and he re-entered the race -- and proceeded to gobble up a race-high 51 fastest laps run. Karma repaid Kahne with a win in the August Pocono event. He should've swept.

Ryan Newman, $23.75 -- Newman, though now with a new team in Richard Childress Racing, has excelled recently at Pocono. In the last three Pocono races, Newman has finished sixth or better, and has scored a driver rating of 96.8 or better. That usually translates to a top-10 finish.

Stay Away

Matt Kenseth, $28.00 -- He's our points leader, hence the $28.00 salary. That's a big salary-cap hit, and one you'll need to avoid at Pocono -- one of six tracks at which Kenseth remains winless. There are a lot of bloated figures on his personal Pocono stats sheet, like the three finishes of 22nd or worse in the last three Pocono races.

Mike Forde is the senior manager of content communications for NASCAR's Integrated Marketing Communications department. He is also known as "Loop Dogg" for his weekly loop data-based fantasy advice on SiriusXM NASCAR and SiriusXMFantasy.