The Frontstretch: No Shift, This Could Be Boring-Fantasy Insight by Dennis Michelsen -- Wednesday June 8, 2005

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No Shift, This Could Be Boring-Fantasy Insight

Dennis Michelsen · Wednesday June 8, 2005


No Shift, This Could Be Boring-Fantasy Insight
Pocono International Speedway
Years ago when drivers started shifting every lap at Pocono the racing got more exciting. This unusual triangle of a racetrack features three of the most challenging turns on the circuit and the longest straightaway in racing. Those combinations made gear selection a challenge. A driver had to have power coming off of turn three to race fast down that long straight but also had to watch his RPMs to keep from blowing up. Once teams learned how to use an overdrive gear and drivers mastered the art of multiple shifts each lap the racing got better and better. Now NASCAR has mandated the gears to be used and have taken away that factor in the race. Maybe this will even the playing field for the lower budget teams that can’t afford the best transmissions and engines, but more likely it will keep drivers from having the power to pass as easily when they get a run on someone. Could this be similar to when NASCAR added restrictor plates at New Hampshire when the drivers got vocal about safety there? The result was a follow the leader event with NO passes for the lead all race. Pocono is certainly a more entertaining track than NHIS so I don’t expect it to be that boring. But why mess with success? This week more than ever grab the guys who qualify great and/or have Crew Chiefs that are good at playing the fuel mileage and pit strategy game.

Week Four of Segment Two is History!

Check out for rules and to see how you can get in the game! (Deadline each week is 5pm EST Saturday if the Cup race is on Sunday and 5pm EST Friday if the race is on a Saturday)

Pocono 500 by the Numbers
Check out for the complete Power Ratings

Pocono Horses for Courses Ratings Top Five
Jimmie Johnson, Elliot Sadler, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, Sterling Marlin

Consistency Ratings Top Five
Ryan Newman, Elliot Sadler, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart

Power Ratings Top Five
Elliott Sadler, Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth

Handicapping the Race

Top Pick (7th Last Week; 2 for 13 for Season, Expect Top 5)
Jimmie Johnson- Jimmie has the best Crew Chief in the business and the best average start at Pocono…that’s a winning combo!

Strong Picks (3rd, 8th, 15th Last Week; 19 for 38 for Season, Expect Top 10)
Mark Martin- Mr. Consistency will be quick to adjust to no shifting again

Elliot Sadler- The top Power Rating this week and Yates/Roush engines

Ryan Newman- Being best on Friday might count more than ever this week

Hunch Bet (5th Last Week; 7 for 13 for Season, Expect Top 10)
Rusty Wallace- Three poles and four wins here in his career

Longshot (12th Last Week; 5 for 13 for Season, Expect Top 15)
Sterling Marlin- Sixteen top ten finishes in his career and one heck of an overlay at 50-1 odds.

Alternate Form of Horse Power- The Belmont Stakes
Top Pick “Afleet Alex”- How can you bet against Alex even at 6-5? His recovery from being tripped up in the Preakness is one of the most amazing finishes in horse racing history.

Long Shot Pick “AP Arrow”- His Daddy won this race so he is bred for distance, trained by D Wayne Lucas, and gets Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey as his jockey. Not a bad combo at 20-1 odds.

Hunch Bet “Southern Africa”- This colt was being hyped as a two year old but never lived up to his promise. Coming off a win in the Lone Star Derby he has a shot if the pace goes his way.

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