By Walker Polivka
The NASCAR Cup Series continues today with the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the race, as well as our top 10, dark horse, and driver to fade predictions.
Driver to Fade: Brad Keselowski- 2022 has been a struggle for Keselowski, with just 3 top 10’s and 8 finishes outside the top 20. Keselwoski has a great track record at Pocono, with 1 win, 11 top 5’s, and 15 top 10’s in 24 career starts, but the speed just hasn’t been there this season. Brad was outside the top 20 fastest in both Practice and Qualifying and has an average finishing position of 19.4 on the year. We expect more of the same today as we predict that Keselowski will finish outside the top 20.
Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace- In an up and down season, Wallace has started to put together some solid runs late in the season, with 3 top 15’s in his last 5 starts, including a strong 3rd place finish last week at New Hampshire. Wallace has had recent success at Pocono as well, finishing 14th and 5th in the 2 races here last season. Wallace has shown solid speed this weekend and will be starting today’s race in 7th place. We predict that Wallace will put together another solid race today and bring home a second consecutive top 10 finish.
Top 10: Kyle Larson- Larson has been lurking in the shadows a bit since the All-Star Race, with 2 top 5’s, 3 top 10’s and 7 top 15’s in the 7 races since then. Larson is ready to make his move this week at Pocono, arguably his best track on the schedule where he has not won, as he has 4 top 5’s, 8 top 10’s, and 11 top 20’s in 14 career starts, including a pair of runner-up finishes. Larson unloaded off the truck with a fast car, running some of the fastest laps of both Practice and Qualifying. Larson will no doubt be a factor for the win today, but a top 10 run is a lock.
Winner: Kyle Busch- After back-to-back runner-up finishes at Charlotte and Word Wide Technology Raceway, Busch has slowed down significantly in the 5 races since, with 4 finishes of 20th or worse and 0 top 10 finishes. However, Pocono is just the track for Busch to turn it around, as he has 4 wins, 11 top 5’s, 18 top 10’s, and over 500 laps led in 34 starts. Busch showed great pace in both Practice and Qualifying and will start the race on the front row in 2nd place. With M&M’s being the sponsor for today’s race, it’s only fitting that we predict that Kyle Busch will find himself in Victory Lane at Pocono!