2023 HighPoint.com 400 Predictions

The NASCAR Cup Series continues today as it visits Pocono Raceway for the HighPoint.com 400. Best known as the “Tricky Triangle,” the 2.5 mile track is arguably the most unique on the schedule, as its three turns are modeled on three different tracks: Trenton Speedway (Turn One), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Turn Two), and The Milwaukee Mile (Turn Three). With 15th-18th place in the point standings separated by 22 points, today’s race will go a long way towards giving us a clearer playoff picture, as three of those drivers are starting today’s race right next to each other in 15th (Michael McDowell), 16th (AJ Allmendinger), and 17th (Daniel Suarez) place. Last year’s edition was “won” by Chase Elliott, who inherited the win after finishing third behind Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who were both disqualified during post-race inspection for illegal modifications to the front fascia of their cars.

Driver to Fade:

Photo Credit: https://theathletic.com/4706695/2023/07/20/justin-haley-rick-ware-racing/

Justin Haley, we hardly knew ye. After putting together great runs at both the Chicago Street Course and Atlanta Motor Speedway, Haley shocked the racing world by announcing that he would be leaving Kaulig Racing at the end of the season to go and race next year for Rick Ware Racing. RWR is notoriously known for sub-par equipment, but a new alliance with RFK Racing makes some people hopeful for Haley. With Haley leaving, I expect that Kaulig will have little incentive to help him contend this year, given his current spot in the point standings. If anything, they’ll give all of their great equipment to Haley’s teammate AJ Allmendinger, who still has a fighting chance at a playoff berth, and give Haley the hand me down parts. Haley’s best Pocono finish is 21st and we would be shocked if he manages to better that today.

Dark Horse:

Photo Credit: http://Ty Gibbs is “enjoying every second” of his NASCAR career

Returning to the site of his first Cup Series start a year ago, Ty Gibbs has quietly put together a solid rookie campaign in 2023, with 5 top 10 finishes so far. Gibbs showed top 10 speed in Practice, as well as top 5 pace on 5 lap, 10 lap, and 15 lap runs. Gibbs narrowly missed out on the second round of qualifying and will start today’s race from the 11th position. Currently in 19th place in the point standings, Gibbs sits 41 points below the cut line with just 6 races to go. He’s not in a must win situation yet, but a top 10 finish today would go a long way towards helping his playoff aspirations.

Top 10:

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA – JULY 22: William Byron, driver of the #24 RaptorTough.com Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series HighPoint.com 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 22, 2023 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: William Byron is in the midst of a career defining season, with 4 wins, 8 top 5’s and 11 top 10’s and counting. Most recently a winner at Atlanta, Byron has had some success in past trips to Pocono, with 2 top 5’s and 5 top 10’s in 9 starts. Byron has clearly unloaded a rocket of a car this weekend, pacing the field on both 5 and 10 lap runs and rolling off from the Pole for today’s race. Byron has the ability to win at any given track on the schedule nowadays, so a top 10 finish at Pocono today is an absolute lock.


LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA – JUNE 27: Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Explore the Pocono Mountains 350 at Pocono Raceway on June 27, 2021 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Not to be overshadowed by his teammate William Byron, Kyle Larson is having a solid year himself, with 2 wins, 9 top 5’s, and 10 top 10 finishes. Larson has yet to find victory at Pocono, but he’s fared very well here nonetheless, with 5 top 5’s, 9 top 10’s, and 134 laps led in 15 starts here. Like William Byron, Luke Combs, and Tracy Chapman, Kyle Larson also has a fast car, laying down the 4th fastest lap of Practice and starting today’s race from 3rd position. Larson last won a points race all the way back at Martinsville in April and feels long overdue for a win. We predict that Kyle Larson will tame the Tricky Triangle for the first time and bring home the victory at Pocono today!

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