Flat tracks require a distinctive set of skills. Drivers have to show patience entering the corners and be prepared to drive like a maniac from the center outward. To help make this week's decision on who to start at Pocono, fantasy owners will find a ton of inspiration from NASCAR's four other flat tracks of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway.
The proof of how well these tracks compare to one another can be found in a driver's consistency. Last year, one racer swept the top 10 in the nine races held on those tracks and two others failed to finish that well only a single time. Jimmie Johnson was the perfect driver; in his nine attempts, he won four times—once each at Indy and Martinsville, plus a season sweep at Phoenix—and in those races, he averaged a result of 3.1. The No. 48 team carried that momentum forward and won this spring at Martinsville before finishing fourth at Phoenix.
Denny Hamlin was nearly perfect. He finished in the top 10 in all but one flat track race last year, and that exception came because of a miscalculation in the pits. On an alternate pit strategy, he got stranded 23rd in Pocono's fall race, or else he would most likely have been challenging the leaders when the checkers waved. Fantasy owners will be interested in knowing that Hamlin's three-year average finish on this track type is 6.3 compared to Johnson's 7.6 during that same span.
Carl Edwards is the final driver to nearly sweep the top 10. He finished 17th in the first New Hampshire race, but was perfect otherwise. Better still, after that single bobble, he swept the top five in the last five flat track events. This streak was highlighted by a victory in the fall Pocono race, which makes him a driver to watch closely this weekend. Unfortunately, he's been a little more uneven this season and finished 26th at Martinsville earlier in the spring.
Flat track average finish, last three years
|Dale Earnhardt Jr||15.74||27|
|Martin Truex Jr||16.52||27|
|Sam Hornish Jr||31.07||14|
|A J Allmendinger||31.83||18|