Race Weekend Central

A Long Time Coming: Kyle Busch Returns to Victory Lane in Pocono

A winless streak of more than a year has now ended for Kyle Busch.

Following a pole-winning run Sunday morning at Pocono Raceway, Busch, who led 74 laps on the day, bumped Kevin Harvick in the final laps and ran away with the lead to win the Overton’s 400.

The win, his first at Pocono, is also his first of 2017, confirming his spot in the playoffs as the 13th winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“It’s pretty cool to finally get the monkey off our back,” Busch said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s well-documented that it’s been more than a year. It’s very rewarding to achieve victory, especially here at Pocono.”

Harvick came home second for the fourth time in the last even Pocono races, unable to close in on Busch. Despite the additional runner-up result, Harvick knows not to take them for granted.

Martin Truex Jr. led 31 laps and finished third while Denny Hamlin played strategy to grab the lead for 18 circuits. Hamlin was happy to see teammate Busch end his winless drought, giving a second win to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017.

“He’s got five poles, he leads the first 150 laps of every race. Those laps can rack up quick, ” Hamlin said. “We know everything that have. I’m certainly giving it everything I can. We’re digging, we keep improving.”

The 160-lap race kicked off with a multi-car accident in Turn 3 after Matt Kenseth spun under Jimmie Johnson. The spin blocked the track, collecting Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon and others in the mess.

Though the wreck ended drivers’ days early, Kenseth was able to bounce back to finish ninth after leading nine laps.

The first-lap chaos wasn’t the only attrition on the day. Jimmie Johnson also found the Turn 3 wall when teammate Kasey Kahne tagged him in the left rear, spinning the No. 48 sideways before backing into the wall. The three-time season winner finished 35th.

Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five while Clint Bowyer, who won Stage 2, finished sixth. Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott completed the top 10.

Indianapolis winner Kahne finished 11th while Danica Patrick earned a fourth straight top-15 result in 15th.

About the author

Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.

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Biff Baynehouse

Very conspicuous level of performance from the import manufacturer, especially from the #18 & #78, which was especially blatant at Indy & Pocono. After Richmond (JL’s “encumbered” win), Nascar cracked down on some of the Ford team’s under carriage gray-zone stuff related to aero. I have not hear specifics, but to my knowledge it was something under the front end, other than & in addition to the rear end chamber that was the published penalty for the #22.
At Pocono, the #18 cleared affiliate teammate by 2 tenths in qualifying for pole. And #78 for P2 cleared P3 by another 2 tenths for outside pole. Then after P2, P3 – P12 qualified within 3 tenths of each other. Really?
Race-wise, on lap +/- 56 the #18 blows teammate #20’s door off with a pass around the outside of turn three at Pocono. And does the same thing to the #2 on lap 74. Around the outside of turn 3 at Pocono? Really?
Then with +/- 30 to go, #18 came out after his final pit + 20 seconds behind the eventual leader, then drove off into the sunset to a +10 second win. Really?
What motorsports category worth a salt permits a + 30 second run delta between manufactures? Wth Nascar?

DoninAjax

Brian thinks that’s fine for his bank account.

DoninAjax

Why is the end of the segment on lap 50 and the caution period is from lap 52-55?

Why is the end of the segment lap 100 and the caution period is from 102-105?

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