Pocono 400 2012: Start Time, Lineup, TV Schedule and More
Greg Biffle continues to hold the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead through 13 races, but Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are both within striking distance as the series heads to Pocono. The track's shape always makes for unique races.
The season has reached the halfway point to the Chase. That means popular drivers like Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon need to start making a move up the standings soon or risk missing NASCAR's version of the playoffs.
Here's a look at all the important information for this weekend's race, along with some drivers to watch and a prediction for who will find victory lane on Sunday.
Who will win Sunday's race?
Where: Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
When: Sunday, June 10 at 1:18 p.m. ET
Live Stream: TrackPass
Listen: Motor Racing Network
Qualifying will be on Saturday, June 9 at 11 a.m. ET.
Full TV Schedule (all times ET)
Pocono 400 Practice: Friday, June 8 at 12:30 p.m. (SPEED)
Pocono 400 Practice: Friday, June 8 at 3:30 p.m. (SPEED)
Pocono 400 Qualifying: Saturday, June 9 at 11 a.m. (SPEED)
Pocono 400 Race: Sunday, June 10 at 1:18 p.m. (FOX)
Drivers to Watch
No driver has been running better in recent weeks than Johnson. The five-time series champion has won two of the last three races and also took the checkered flag at the All-Star Race a few weeks ago. So it's clear the No. 48 team has found a nice groove.
Johnson got off to a slow start, so his recent charge has only moved him up to fifth place. That said, he's proven time and again over the years that nobody can stop him when he's running well. A couple more strong finishes and he'll be challenging for the lead.
Pocono has treated Johnson well over the years. He has two victories at the track and has an average finish of ninth. He should be in the mix during the final laps on Sunday.
Is Hamlin a title contender?
Don't sleep on Hamlin. The rising star currently sits in fourth place and is tied for the lead in wins with two. Few other drivers can match his record of success at Pocono with four wins in 12 starts and an average finish inside the top 10.
While most of the championship focus has been on drivers like Biffle, Earnhardt and Johnson, Hamlin is a strong contender as well. He should have learned a lot about what it takes to win the title during his second-place finish two years ago.
It would be a major surprise if Hamlin doesn't contend for the win at Pocono. The combination of his results this season and success at the track should ensure a good afternoon for the No. 11 car.
Nobody needs a victory more than Gordon. Not only does he need to improve his place in the standings, but he needs a confidence boost after a rough season so far. He's had so much success in his career that sitting outside of the top 20 has to be taking its toll.
Luckily for Gordon, he won this race last season and has always had good results at Pocono. The veteran has five wins and 27 top-10 finishes in 38 starts at the track. If there was ever a place where he could get his season turned around, Pocono would seem like the perfect candidate.
Based on the way he's been running throughout the year, it's tough to pick Gordon to win the race. He should be a contender, however, so it's impossible to count him out.
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