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HighPoint.com 400 Predictions: From Day One Denny Hamlin Has Been the Driver to Beat at Pocono

Written by: Reid Spencer
Published July 21, 2023
11 min read
  • Kevin Harvick has an excellent history at Pocono, but he’s driving a Ford.
  • William Byron leads the series in average finish at the Tricky Triangle.
  • From day one, Denny Hamlin has been the driver to beat at Pocono.

HighPoint.com 400 Betting Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.

WinnerOdds
Martin Truex Jr.+550
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Kyle Busch+550
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Denny Hamlin+550
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Kyle Larson+750
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Willian Byron+900
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Ryan Blaney+1100
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Ross Chastain+1100
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Chase Elliott+1200
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Tyler Reddick+1400
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Christopher Bell+1400
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Kevin Harvick+1600
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Our Picks for the HighPoint.com 400

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Highpoint 400 Cup Series Predictions

HighPoint.com 400 Predictions

Kevin Harvick Has a Great Record at Pocono, but He’s Driving a Ford

When the NASCAR Cup Series comes to Pocono, chances are you’ll find Kevin Harvick near the front of the field.

In 43 starts at the 2.5-mile triangular track, Harvick has 15 top fives and 22 top 10s to his credit. He also boasts the second-best average driver rating among Cup competitors at 98.7.

Since Harvick is retiring at the end of the season, he’s the sentimental favorite everywhere he goes, but there are two factors that mitigate against him.

First, Harvick has only one victory at the track. Second, he’s driving a Ford, and Ford drivers have won just one of the last 10 races at the Tricky Triangle. That was Harvick in 2020, when he won just about everywhere.

We’d like to back Harvick at +1600 via DraftKings Sportsbook, but we’ll go with our head and not our heart this time.

Our best bet among the Ford drivers is for Brad Keselowski, whose equipment is vastly improved this year, to finish in the top three (+900 DraftKings) and top five (+450).

No Longer a Neophyte, Byron Has Best Average Finish at Pocono

Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron is just 25 years old, and that makes it difficult to believe he’s already in his sixth full season of NASCAR Cup Series racing.

In fact, Byron leads the series with four victories this year, and he has the best average finish at the track in Sunday’s field at 9.44.

Chevrolet drivers have won two of the last three Pocono races but none of the previous seven. And Byron’s consecutive 12th-place finishes in the last two events there give us pause.

That’s why we’re looking elsewhere for the winner. Byron isn’t a bad bet at +900 via DraftKings, but we think our choice is a bit more obvious.

From Day One, Denny Hamlin Has Been the Man to Beat at Pocono

As a NASCAR Cup rookie in 2006, Denny Hamlin came to Pocono Raceway and won from the pole. He repeated the feat later that same year to establish himself as a master of the 2.5-mile triangular track.

All told, Hamlin has accumulated six victories at the track, tying him with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for most all-time. A disqualification last year, because his team had added tape to the front fascia of his No. 11 Toyota, cost him a seventh win.

In 33 Pocono starts, Hamlin has 14 top fives, 21 top 10s, and an average finish of 11.8. He has a series-best average driver rating at the track of 107.7, significantly ahead of second-place Kevin Harvick’s 98.7.

Toyota drivers have won seven of the last 10 races at the Tricky Triangle, and we think that dominance will continue on Sunday with Hamlin (+550 DraftKings) in the winner’s circle.

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How to Watch the HighPoint.com 400

  • Race: HighPoint.com 400 NASCAR Cup Series race
  • Location: Pocono Raceway
  • Time: Sunday, July 23, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: USA
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AUTHOR

Reid Spencer

218 Articles

Award-winning motorsports writer Reid Spencer has served as lead writer for the NASCAR Wire Service for 16 years, having also spent a four-year stint as NASCAR columnist and beat writer for Sporting News. He is currently serving as president of the National Motorsports Press Association. Email: [email protected]

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