2011 5-hour Energy 500 Post-Practice Predictions, Picks, Tips and Preview – Favorites and Sleepers to Win 2011 5-hour Energy 500:Thanks to three tricky corners and massive straightaways, Pocono Raceway makes it easy to spot an ill-handling car. As a result, the practices at the track are a great predictor of which drivers will run well in the race. Drivers that struggle in the turns can’t carry momentum and can’t compete down the straightaways. Sometimes there is no substitute for pure horsepower, and there is no place to hide when a car going 10 mph faster comes up to make a pass.

5-hour Energy 500 Post-Practice Top 5

Carl Edwards: Two-time Pocono winner Carl Edwards ranked first and third in the two practice sessions Friday, cementing his place as one of the top contenders for this weekend’s race. Armed with the new Ford motor, he should show some serious muscle down the track’s long straightaways. Edwards has already been the most reliable driver in the series, and he could add another win to his resume this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson showcased plenty of speed in the two practice sessions Friday. He ranked fifth and third in the two sessions, and he posted the second-best 10-lap average speed in Happy Hour. Johnson has a pair of wins at Pocono in his career, and he is one of two drivers that average a top-10 finish. Expect Johnson to be in the mix Sunday.

Denny Hamlin: After ranking 10th in the opening session, Hamlin stole the show in Happy Hour. He posted the fastest lap of the final session, along with the top 10-lap average speed. Hamlin is a four-time winner at Pocono, and he has finished sixth or better in eight of his 10 starts. Trips to Victory Lane are commonplace for Hamlin, and he could easily make another one this weekend.

Tony Stewart: “Smoke” ranked third and 12th in the two practices Friday, and he has always been one of the top performers at Pocono. He has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 10 starts at the track, and he has a pair of wins. Stewart always runs his best during the summer months, and June is bringing some warmer weather. The wins could start piling up for the two-time champ.

Ryan Newman: Newman was consistent during both sessions, ranking sixth and eighth. He has been one of the more consistent drivers at Pocono as well, and he is a former winner at the track. Newman has cooled off a bit after a hot start, but he appears to have his car handling well this weekend.

5-hour Energy 500 Post-Practice Top Sleeper

Brad Keselowski: While his win last weekend at Kansas should have him riding high, it is his speeds during practice that make Keselowski an intriguing pick this weekend. He ranked fourth an seventh in the two practices Friday, and back-to-back wins suddenly seem like a real possibility. Keselowski needed a little luck to win last weekend, but he may not need any help Sunday if his speed carry over to race day.

View the most current vegas betting odds to win the 2011 5-hour Energy 500 for this Sunday, June 12th at Pocono Raceway.

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