Despite the field seeking out more speed and track position with various pit strategies, Kyle Busch led 79 laps to win his 55th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500, tying Rusty Wallace on the all-time win list.
“I just can’t say enough about everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “Everybody that works there works so hard to build these awesome Camrys. We’ve had an amazing roll this year here so far. We’ve been doing well.
“We feel like we’ve kind of given away a couple of wins that we thought we had a shot for, but overall, it’s been awesome to get back to Victory Lane here. Pocono’s been a struggle, but it’s a lot better now.”
Busch’s fourth win of the season came after beating Brad Keselowski by 2.224 seconds. He led a few laps during pit cycles, but was able to fight his way up after the final restart to get close to Busch. His No. 2 Penske Ford wasn’t quite as strong.
“We didn’t have speed enough to pass guys, but we could run with them,” Keselowski said. “We wanted a little bit more to be able to pass everybody, but you had to be so much faster that you just try to execute the best you can and hope things fall the right way. “They fell decent, just not good enough to win today.”
Erik Jones finished in the third position, followed by Talladega winner Chase Elliott. Clint Bowyer completed the top five.
“I feel like if Kyle [Busch] and I had been on four tires, we would’ve been pretty even,” Jones said with a positive outlook with his third place effort after a dead last finish in last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. “Good day overall, it would have had to really be a perfect scenario for us to win today, but we had a good car. The Dewalt Camry was fast, and it was fast all weekend.”
“We’ve been good, but not great,” Elliott shared with FOX Sports after the race when evaluating their current overall situation.
Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, pole winner William Byron and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.
Three front runners had struggles in the race. First, Kevin Harvick was in contention for the win, but a late race pit-road penalty changed their outcome. On Lap 124, they were caught with an uncontrolled tire and were forced to serve a pass-through penalty. Harvick dropped off the lead lap and finished his day at Pocono in the 22nd spot.
Last week’s winner Martin Truex Jr. was victorious in three of the last five points-paying races. However, his attempt for his fourth win of the season fell short after 91 laps into the race when his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota went behind the wall with an engine issue. His team finished 35th for the day.
The third driver who was a strong contender early in the race was Kyle Larson. The Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet driver led 35 laps and won the race’s first two stages. On a late race restart, Larson slapped the outside wall after contact with Clint Bowyer. He was forced to pit with damage to the right rear and at risk of blowing a tire. He finished one lap down in the 26th position.
The weekend was a rough start for Erik Jones and Chris Buescher as they failed pre-qualifying inspection on Saturday. Since cars were impounded after Busch Pole Qualifying, the inspection also served as pre-race inspection. This resulted in the car chief for both teams being ejected for the race weekend, Jason Overstreet (No. 20) and Doug Powers (No. 37). Both drivers have been coming from strong recent finishes, with Jones finishing in the top-six in two of the last three races and Buescher with two consecutive top-10 results.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races next weekend at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 9.
Monster Energy Cup Series Race Number 14
Race Results for the 38th Annual Pocono 400 – Sunday, June 2, 2019
Pocono Raceway – Long Pond, PA – 2.5 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 160 Laps – 400. Miles
|1||2||18||Kyle Busch||M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota||160||0||0||40||Running|
|2||5||2||Brad Keselowski||Wabash National Ford||160||3||4||50||Running|
|3||4||20||Erik Jones||DeWalt Toyota||160||0||0||34||Running|
|4||12||9||Chase Elliott||NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet||160||0||0||33||Running|
|5||3||14||Clint Bowyer||Haas Automation Ford||160||0||0||32||Running|
|6||6||11||Denny Hamlin||FedEx Office Toyota||160||0||0||31||Running|
|7||16||22||Joey Logano||Shell Pennzoil Ford||160||8||2||42||Running|
|8||9||41||Daniel Suarez||Haas Automation Demo Days Ford||160||7||10||34||Running|
|9||1||24||William Byron||Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet||160||2||3||45||Running|
|10||13||10||Aric Almirola||Valley Technical Academy Ford||160||5||0||33||Running|
|11||21||1||Kurt Busch||Monster Energy Chevrolet||160||0||6||31||Running|
|12||17||12||Ryan Blaney||Menards/Libman Ford||160||6||0||30||Running|
|13||23||8||Daniel Hemric #||Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Chevrolet||160||0||9||26||Running|
|14||24||37||Chris Buescher||Kroger Thrill of the Grill Chevrolet||160||0||8||26||Running|
|15||15||88||Alex Bowman||Axalta Chevrolet||160||0||0||22||Running|
|16||19||6||Ryan Newman||Wyndham Rewards Ford||160||0||5||27||Running|
|17||22||95||Matt DiBenedetto||Toyota Express Maintenance Toyota||160||0||0||20||Running|
|18||14||21||Paul Menard||Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford||160||10||0||20||Running|
|19||8||48||Jimmie Johnson||Ally Chevrolet||160||0||0||18||Running|
|20||28||34||Michael McDowell||Dockside Logistics Ford||160||0||0||17||Running|
|21||26||43||Bubba Wallace||Victory Junction Chevrolet||160||0||7||20||Running|
|22||11||4||Kevin Harvick||Busch Light Father’s Day Ford||159||4||0||22||Running|
|23||29||47||Ryan Preece #||Kroger Chevrolet||159||0||0||14||Running|
|24||32||15||Ross Chastain(i)||Low T Center Chevrolet||159||0||0||0||Running|
|25||34||51||Bayley Currey(i)||Jacob Companies P-40 Warhawk Ford||159||0||0||0||Running|
|26||7||42||Kyle Larson||Credit One Bank Chevrolet||159||1||1||31||Running|
|27||25||13||Ty Dillon||GEICO Chevrolet||158||0||0||10||Running|
|28||35||27||* Reed Sorenson||VIPRacingExperience.com Chevrolet||157||0||0||9||Running|
|29||36||77||Quin Houff||Spire Motorsports Chevrolet||157||0||0||8||Running|
|30||27||38||David Ragan||ExploriaResorts.com Ford||156||0||0||7||Running|
|31||31||0||Landon Cassill(i)||Madison Group Chevrolet||154||0||0||0||Running|
|32||18||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Fastenal Ford||146||0||0||5||Accident|
|33||30||36||Matt Tifft #||Surface Sunscreen Ford||128||0||0||4||Running|
|34||37||52||JJ Yeley||Steakhouse Elite Chevrolet||110||0||0||3||Running|
|35||20||19||Martin Truex Jr.||Bass Pro Shops Toyota||91||9||0||4||Engine|
|36||33||32||Corey LaJoie||VisoneRV Ford||68||0||0||1||Accident|
|37||10||3||Austin Dillon||Dow Chevrolet||28||0||0||1||Accident|