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NASCAR DFS: Pocono 400 (Free DraftKings Preview)

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Pocono 400

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The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend, and when it comes to assembling winning DFS lineups for the triangular-shaped track, you have to change your approach a bit.

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Unlike a 1.5-mile oval or short track event where the dominator categories are by far the most important component, the laps led and fastest laps run categories don't carry quite as much weight at Pocono. 

For one, the race is one of the shorter events, scheduled for just 160 laps. Meanwhile, Pocono's massive 2.5-mile layout allows drivers to pit without losing a lap, which means drivers will be short pitting throughout fuel runs, hoping to catch a caution and gain track position.

As a result, the lead tends to cycle through a variety of drivers. The last time a driver has led 100 laps in a race at Pocono was in 2013, and last June, Chase Elliott ranked first with just 51 laps led. Fuel mileage can also come into play, jumbling up the running order in the closing laps.

With the dominator categories being devalued a bit, place differential and finishing position receive a boost this weekend. This a race where a balanced lineup of solid finishers is going to be successful. In addition, quality drivers starting deeper in the field can end up having as much value as the driver who leads the most laps.

Check back after qualifying for updated driver picks, and in the meantime, here is a closer look at the drivers I'll be targeting for Sunday's Pocono 400. 

Must-Own Drivers

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)

Truex has led multiple laps in three of the last four races at Pocono, including a race-high 97 in a dominating win in the June race in 2015. He has consistently shown high-end speed at this track and high-end speed all season long. Truex is one of the best bets to win the dominator categories yet again this weekend.

Value Plays 

Chase Elliott ($9,300)

The sample size is small, but when Elliott made his Pocono debut last June, he led a race-high 51 laps on his way to a fourth-place finish. It remains to be seen if he can repeat the performance, but I'll be willing to take that chance in a few lineups, especially if he qualifies up front.

Sleeper Specials

David Ragan ($5,100)

No matter what car he is driving, Ragan seems to be able to hold his own at Pocono. He has finished 23rd or better in six of his last seven starts at the track, gaining at least seven spots in five of those races. If he starts outside the Top 25, Ragan should be one of the safer sources of significant cap relief.

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