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Who’s hot, who’s not at Pocono entering Axalta We Paint Winners 400


The Sprint Cup Series journeys to Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., this weekend for the Axalta We Paint Winners 400, the first of two races at the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle.”

Let’s take a look at which drivers have figured out the three-turn track and those who still are struggling to find success at Pocono, which has been a part of the Cup circuit since 1974.

Who’s hot at Pocono

Dale Earnhardt Jr.:

• Won the last two races at Pocono and was the only driver with top-five finishes in both races there in 2014.

• Finished in the top five in the last four races there and in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races at Pocono (finished 32nd in August 2012 because of a transmission problem while running second).

Jeff Gordon:

• Two wins and seven top 10 finishes in the last nine races at Pocono.

• Six Pocono wins and 1,037 laps led makes him the all-time leader.

• Finished in the top two in 27 percent of his Pocono starts (six wins, six runner ups in 44 starts).

Denny Hamlin:

• Four wins, three poles in 18 Pocono starts

• Average start of 6.5 is the best of all active drivers at Pocono.

• Best driver rating through last 20 race at 108.3.

• Finished in the top 10 in four of the last six races at Pocono.

Ryan Newman:

• Finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight Pocono races.

• Finished in the top 10 in the last five Pocono races, the longest active streak of any driver.

• Finished on the lead lap in the last 19 races at Pocono.

Jimmie Johnson:

• Finished in the top 10 in seven of the last 10 Pocono races, including a win in June 2013; three wins and three poles at Pocono.

Kurt Busch:

• Finished third or better in four of the last seven races at Pocono and in the top 10 in five of the last seven; two Pocono wins with five runner-ups.

Who’s not at Pocono

Aric Almirola:

• Hasn’t finished better than 18th at Pocono in six starts, including a career-worst 35th last August because of an accident.

Clint Bowyer:

• Finished fourth at Pocono last August, only his second top-five finish there in 18 races and his only top-10 finish there in the last four races.

Kyle Busch:

• Finished 20th or worse in nine of his 20 Pocono starts including three of the last six; five DNFS at Pocono are tied for his most at a track.

Carl Edwards:

• Finished outside the top 10 in five of the last six Pocono races, including the last four; two-time Pocono winner, but both were in his first eight starts.

Kevin Harvick:

• Rebounded from a speeding penalty last August to finish a Pocono-best second, but it’s only his second top-10 finish in the last seven races there; Pocono is one of five active tracks where he is winless.

Danica Patrick:

• Hasn’t finished better than 29th at Pocono in four starts.

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