After last weeks bump and run finish in New Hampshire, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Pocono for the Gander Outdoors 400. This week I will be recommending only 1 driver starting inside the top 5, with the remainder of my drivers starting from outside of the top 28. That’s right, even though this is not a restrictor plate race, starting at the front is not that important to me this week. With post qualifying inspections throwing the starting lineup into a tizzy, the normal top drivers will have to fight their way through the field to post a good finish. Let’s dive right in and see what the DPA has in store for our optimal GPP lineups this week.
Blue Chip Studs
Kevin Harvick | #4 | $12,500
Harvick and the #4 Mobil 1 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will have to start from the 29th starting position on Sunday after they failed post qualifying inspection on Saturday afternoon. Harvick has been the talk in the garage all weekend as his Ford has been pretty much untouchable. He had the best 10 lap average speed in Happy Hour and the second fastest single lap during the same practice. He took the pole easily with an unbelievable lap that was later deemed illegal after his car could not make it through inspection. Starting 29th, Harvick will have plenty of opportunities to gain valuable points and make his way to the front. Ironically, he will start right behind the man he bumped out of the way last week on his way to the checkered flag.
Kyle Busch | #18 | $12,500
Our second optimal driver amongst our Blue Chip Studs is Kyle Busch and the #18 M&M’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch, like Harvick, failed post qualifying inspection and will have to start from the 28th position. Busch finished in third place earlier this year in Pocono and should be just as good this Sunday. Look for both him and Harvick to work together as they make their way through the field on their way to the front. Once they get there, the cooperation between the two will obviously take a back seat.
Joey Logano | #22 | $10,500
Logano and the #22 Shell Pennzoil Team Penske Ford will start in the back on Sunday and have to work his way through the field like all the other top drivers. Logano had the fastest lap during Happy Hour and had the 6th fastest 10 lap average. If he can maneuver his way through the field and catch a few breaks (like Harvick and Busch) he should be in line for a top 10 finish. Logano was strong at Pocono earlier this year as he finished 9th the last time the Cup Series visited Pocono.
Denny Hamlin | #11 | $10,100
The last time the boys were in Pocono, Denny Hamlin and the #11 FedEx Express Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota finished 35th and wrecked any hopes of a strong finish in fantasy. But that was last time and in this sport, we have to have a short memory. Sure, Hamlin has struggled all year, but this week he looks to have a car that can contend. Hamlin had great 10 lap average speed and qualified in the 2nd position. Look for Hamlin to lead early on and be around to contend for the win as he and his team finally pull off a decent finish.
Clint Bowyer | #14 | $10,000
Bowyer and the #14 Haas 30 Years of The VF1 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will roll off from the 31st starting position on Sunday. Last time out at Pocono, Bowyer had a really strong car that did not show up in the end. Bowyer finished in the 20th position, but had a car that should have contended for the win. Bowyer had the 3rd fastest 10 lap average in Happy Hour and had the 5th fastest overall lap. Bowyer is the DPA Play of the Day!
theDPA will be overweight on Bowyer Sunday
Jimmie Johnson | #48 | $9,100
Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s for Pros Hendicks Motorsports Chevrolet will start in the 35th position on Sunday. Johnson and the Chevrolet contingent have been coming on as of late and as the Monster Energy Cup Series makes its way back to tracks for the second time, the Chevys will show improvement. I look for Johnson and teammate Chase Elliott to be amongst the top Chevrolets on Sunday.
Austin Dillon | #3 | $7,300
Dillon and the #3 American Ethanol E15 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will start from the 37th starting position on Sunday. Dillon had the 4th fastest 10 lap average during Happy Hour and was 12th fastest overall. The #3 has shown good speed throughout practice and qualifying.
William Byron | #24 | $7,400
Byron and the #24 Axalta Imron Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet will start from the 38th starting position on Sunday. Byron and the #24 team finished in 18th position last time out in Pocono and the rookie will be looking to improve upon that finish. The Chevrolets seem to have found the speed that they need to compete, and I’m hoping that should make for a better showing this time around.
DPA Racing finds Byron in a nice spot for his price
Paul Menard | #21 | $8,100
Menard and the #21 Menards Libman Wood Brothers Racing Ford has been really impressive as of late. Menard will start from the 36th position on Sunday and like many of the other fast cars, he will have to make his way through the field if he expects to have a good finish. Menard and the #21 team finished 11th the last time they raced in Pocono.
Bryan Holland is a senior NASCAR writer for Daily Play Action with years of success in both GPPs and Cash Games on FanDuel. He reserves the right to change his plays at any time without notice and without discretion.