Bet NASCAR! The Eckel 3 + 1 pick the Pocono Organics 325, Saturday's race in a weekend doubleheader
Pocono Organics 325, Saturday 3:30 p.m., Fox; Pocono 350, Sunday 4 p.m., FS1
NASCAR will host its first ever “doubleheader’’ this weekend at Pocono Raceway with the Pocono Organics 325 scheduled to go Saturday, 3:30 and the Pocono 350 slated for Sunday, 4 p.m.
This first-time ever two Cup Series races in two days at the same track was scheduled before Covid-19 played havoc with the race schedule.
Saturday’s race will be the 14th of the season, marking the beginning of the second half of the 26-race season. Eight drivers have gotten to Victory Lane over the first half of the season and none are named Kyle Busch, las season’s Cup Series Champion or Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time Cup champion.
This year’s winners do include Denny Hamlin (three times), Kevin Harvick (two times), Joey Logano (two times), Brad Keselowski (two times), Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman.
Harvick, with 490 points, is the overall points leader at the midway point of the season and also has the most top-10 finishes with 10. Logano (467) is in second place and Blaney (465) is in third.
Some notes to consider about Pocono, known as “The Tricky Triangle’’ because of its varied degrees of banking from turn to turn. Turn one is 14 degrees; turn two is eight degrees and turn three is six degrees. Experience on this 130-lap track is vital as is past success.
The Eckel 3, which as always includes Scott “Tobacco Road’’ Baker and Mike “Left Turn’’ Sweeney has had its share of success this season, with seven winners through a tough first half. And now a fourth “expert’’ has joined the team. We didn’t necessarily need help, but when you get a chance to add Barry “Dr. NASCAR’’ Davis to the mix, you don’t turn it down.
Here are Saturday’s selections (the odds are from parxcasino.com). Check back Saturday night after the race for Sunday’s picks.
Denny Hamlin (7-1): The Fab Four all agreed on Hamlin being either one, or two, Saturday afternoon. “Left Turn’’ and “The Doctor’’ had him on top. Hamlin has won here five times, including a win in 2019 and his first-ever win in 2006.
Martin Truex Jr. (15-2): Three of the four mentioned Truex, the New Jersey native, who will be looking for his second win of the season and his third win at Pocono.
Kyle Busch (9-2): “Tobacco Road’’ will pick “Rowdie’’ every week or go broke hoping he finally gets to Victory Lane. The “Doctor’’ also mentioned him, so misery loves company in this case. If you didn’t notice our top three picks are all Toyotas and all members of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Aric Almirola (66-1): That’s crazy odds for a guy who has been racing well , is coming off a good third-place finish and is on the pole.
Jimmie Johnson (25-1): That sentimental “Left Turn’’ is hoping Johnson can end his 107-race drought.