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Busch Scores Back-To-Front Win At Pocono

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, July 30 2018

Kyle Busch started slow and ended fast at Pocono on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kyle Busch overcame starting from near the rear of the field because of a penalty for failing post-qualifying inspection, an out-of-sorts car early in the race and several late-race restarts to win Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

The victory in the Gander Outdoors 400 was the sixth of the year for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver and tied him with Kevin Harvick – who also failed post-qualifying inspection and was penalized to the back of the field – for most in the series.

“What an awesome race,” Busch said. “My Toyota Camry was awesome. Had a lot of speed (late in the race) but, man, we fought it all weekend.”

It was Busch’s second in 28 starts at the 2.5-mile Pocono “Tricky Triangle” and it came in overtime.

Pole-sitter Daniel Suarez of JGR finished second, 1.7 seconds behind his teammate.

“Suarez, man. I can’t say enough about my teammate,” Busch said.

“I thought we were a solid top-three car,” Suarez, a native of Mexico whose finish was his best in Cup. “I felt like in the short run, we were actually the best car. I was better than the 18 (Busch). It’s a little disappointing.”

Third was Alex Bowman in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Rounding out the top five were Stewart-Haas racing’s Harvick and JGR’s Erik Jones.

Busch took the lead for the first time with 48 laps to go. After that restarts – including the one in overtime – became his major obstacles.

Suarez, who inherited the pole when Kevin Harvick was penalized for failing post-qualifying inspection, brought the field to the green flag in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and led the first 21 laps.

But after that, the series’ big names began to take over as six-time 2018 winner Harvick, teammate and past champion Kurt Busch and five-time winner Kyle Busch took turns making their way to the front to lead double-digit laps.

Collecting stage wins and points were Elliott and Harvick.

Harvick, who appeared to have the fastest car on the track and who led 30 laps, saw his chance to get his first Pocono win end when he suffered body damage during a pit-road scrape with teammate Aric Almirola with 36 laps to go.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Gander Outdoors 400

Pocono Raceway

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Sunday, July 29, 2018

  1. (28) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 164.
  2. (1) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 164.
  3. (10) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 164.
  4. (29) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 164.
  5. (3) Erik Jones, Toyota, 164.
  6. (38) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 164.
  7. (6) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 164.
  8. (9) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 164.
  9. (7) Kurt Busch, Ford, 164.
  10. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 164.
  11. (31) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 164.
  12. (33) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 164.
  13. (37) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 164.
  14. (14) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 164.
  15. (8) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 164.
  16. (13) Michael McDowell, Ford, 164.
  17. (35) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 164.
  18. (11) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 164.
  19. (16) David Ragan, Ford, 164.
  20. (5) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 164.
  21. (36) Paul Menard, Ford, 164.
  22. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 164.
  23. (32) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 164.
  24. (15) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 164.
  25. (34) Aric Almirola, Ford, 164.
  26. (30) Joey Logano, Ford, 164.
  27. (18) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 164.
  28. (20) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 164.
  29. (19) * Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 163.
  30. (40) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 162.
  31. (23) * Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 161.
  32. (25) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 161.
  33. (39) Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, Accident, 153.
  34. (24) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 148.
  35. (22) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 146.
  36. (27) * Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 142.
  37. (12) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, Transmission, 123.
  38. (4) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 121.
  39. (21) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 95.
  40. (26) BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 77.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  132.46 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 05 Mins, 43 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.788 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  7 for 29 laps.

Lead Changes:  13 among 10 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   D. Suarez 1-21; B. Keselowski 22; J. McMurray 23; Kurt Busch 24-34; D. Hamlin 35-39; C. Elliott 40-53; E. Jones 54-64; K. Harvick 65-77; D. Suarez 78-84; K. Harvick 85-101; W. Byron # 102-111; Kyle Busch 112-121; D. Suarez 122; Kyle Busch 123-164.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 2 times for 52 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 30 laps; D. Suarez 3 times for 29 laps; C. Elliott 1 time for 14 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 11 laps; E. Jones 1 time for 11 laps; W. Byron # 1 time for 10 laps; D. Hamlin 1 time for 5 laps; J. McMurray 1 time for 1 lap; B. Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 9,4,11,18,19,14,2,41,88,12

Stage #2 Top Ten: 4,9,14,88,42,48,2,1,12,24

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, July 30 2018
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