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Fan’s Perspective: Drivers to Watch in the Pennsylvania 400

Yahoo Contributor Network

In June, records fell at Pocono Raceway, as the Sprint Cup Series visited the newly repaved track for the first time. Joey Logano was the surprise of the field, winning the pole and the race, the Pocono 400 (the first 400-mile race held at the "Tricky Triangle"), in his Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota. Will anyone be able to catch Logano this weekend, as the Cup stars return to Pocono for the Pennsylvania 400 on August 5? These drivers, who all had stellar records on the old pavement at 500 miles, are among those to watch this weekend.

Denny Hamlin - Hamlin was the last driver to sweep the season's two poles at Pocono (2006), and went on to win both of those races. He is one of just two drivers (Jimmie Johnson being the other) with an average finish in the top 10 (9.3), and currently has the highest driver rating at Pocono of anyone in the top 12 (117.6). Through 13 races at the "Tricky Triangle," Hamlin has four wins and nine total top 10 finishes, and he started and finished fifth on the new pavement in June.

Jeff Gordon - Gordon is tied with Bill Elliott for most career wins at Pocono (five); he has 27 total top 10 finishes in 39 races along with two poles. In June, Gordon started 12th and finished 19th on the new pavement in the #24 Chevrolet. Gordon is still looking for his first win of the season, and stands to finish outside the top 10 for the first time since 2005.

Carl Edwards - Another driver in need of a win, Edwards has seven top 10 - including two wins - in 15 races at Pocono Raceway. Edwards sat on the outside pole and finished 11th in the June race, and comes into the race with a new crew chief, Chad Norris, who made his debut with the #99 Ford at Indianapolis last weekend.

Jimmie Johnson - Brickyard 400 winner Johnson has two wins and 15 total top 10s at Pocono in 21 races, plus two poles. Johnson has three straight fourth-place finishes at Pocono, including the June race, where he started 24th. Johnson has an average finish of 8.8 and is second in driver rating at the "Tricky Triangle" (106.7).

Brad Keselowski - He's only raced at Pocono five times in the Cup Series, and he picked up a memorable win last August - while nursing a broken ankle. In June, Keselowski started 31st and finished 18th on the new track, and has had top 10 finished in the last four races on the schedule.

Paula is a long-time NASCAR fan who also covers the sports at Skirts & Scuffs and Examiner.com.

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