LONG POND, Pa. – Kyle Larson battled competitors and the weather to score the victory in the inaugural Pocono Green 250 XFINITY Series race in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The driver of the No. 42 Cessna/NTT Data Group Chevrolet received the checkered flag after the race was rain delayed and then finally called.
This was Larson’s fourth victory in 82 NASCAR XFINITY Series races, his first victory for the 2016 season and his fifth top-10 finish in 2016. Larson’s last win came at Homestead in the 2015 season finale.
“I’m happy with it,” Larson said. “We were good, better than I thought we’d be. Shiplett (Mike Shiplett, crew chief) and all the guys did a really good job adjusting on the car. When we put on stickers, I got closer to the feel I wanted.”
“I didn’t really think I would win today but it all worked out. All in all, a really solid day.”
Erik Jones, in the No. 20 SportClips Haircuts Toyota, finished second after starting from the pole. This was his first top-10 finish in his first XFINITY race at Pocono and his seventh top-10 finish in 2016.
“There was just not enough time,” Jones said. “I thought we by far had one of the best cars in the field but we couldn’t get back in the lead before it started raining.
“It’s pretty frustrating. It’s kind of been that kind of year for us. Today was another one of those days where I thought we had a shot at the win but it didn’t work out for us.
“But nice to know we can be that fast and nice to know we can contend for the wins. We will move on from here.”
The driver of the No. 3 Rheem Chevrolet Ty Dillon finished in position three at the “Tricky Triangle.”
“We put ourselves in a good position and I felt like we were a top-five race car,” Dillon said. “We never changed left tires the whole race. When the caution came out, we just weren’t as good anymore and that brought the Gibbs cars closer. My only hope was that I could run them back down.
“If it had stayed green, I thought that we would have had an opportunity, but all in all a good day for us and a good finish in third.”
There were five cautions in the race, the first for a competition yellow, the second for an accident in Turn 2 for the No. 7 of Justin Allgaier, the third for debris in Turn 2, the fourth for a hard hit for both the No. 16 and No. 51 of Ryan Reed and Jeremy Clements respectively. And, of course, the final caution was what ended the race, for rain.
“We had issues from the start,” Reed, driver of the No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford, said “We started off getting strapped in the car and didn’t have any radio communication. I could hear the spotter but couldn’t communicate with that.
“We fire off and were on the splitter really hard so balance wasn’t very good. We were getting it better, using hand signals, and then we got racing with the 39 car and he got on our door and we got loose. I think when we got into him it got the right rear tire and eventually it went down.
“We had a little tire smoke but it went away and I thought it cleared up. We were racing with the 62 and he got inside of us and I thought it took the air off and we went into one and the tire let go and here we are.
“I am just thankful to Lilly Diabetes and American Diabetes Association for sticking with us. I feel like we are making progress. These days are really tough with adversity from the start. We will not give up. I was hoping to get our Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang in victory lane for everyone at home watching on their XFINITY TV, but it just wasn’t meant to be today.”
Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, both doing double duty at Pocono this weekend, finished fourth and fifth respectively.
“We were trying to be off strategy,” Logano said. “Our SKF Ford Mustang wasn’t as fast as it needed to be so we were trying to do anything we could to win it.
“It was interesting for sure. It would have been interesting to see what would happen if we were able to go back green.”
Elliott Sadler, Paul Menard, Brandon Jones, Daniel Suarez, and Alex Bowman completed the top-10 finishing order in the inaugural XFINITY Pocono race.
Daniel Suarez remains in the lead in the point standings with Elliott Sadler behind by just 11 points.
Complete Finishing Order:
1. (4) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 53.
2. (1) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 53.
3. (8) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 53.
4. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 53.
5. (5) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 53.
6. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 53.
7. (7) Paul Menard(i), Chevrolet, 53.
8. (14) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 53.
9. (3) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 53.
10. (10) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 53.
11. (16) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 53.
12. (13) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, 53.
13. (11) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 53.
14. (17) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 53.
15. (12) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 53.
16. (40) Darrell Wallace Jr, Ford, 53.
17. (19) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 53.
18. (22) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 53.
19. (29) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 53.
20. (30) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, 53.
21. (26) Ray Black Jr #, Chevrolet, 53.
22. (25) BJ McLeod #, Ford, 53.
23. (34) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 53.
24. (35) Alex Guenette, Chevrolet, 53.
25. (36) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 53.
26. (27) Brandon Gdovic, Chevrolet, 52.
27. (24) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, 52.
28. (38) Todd Peck, Ford, 52.
29. (15) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 51.
30. (39) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 50.
31. (18) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 39.
32. (32) TJ Bell, Dodge, 39.
33. (23) Ryan Reed, Ford, Accident, 38.
34. (31) Jeff Green, Toyota, Header, 30.
35. (28) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Vibration, 29.
36. (20) Josh Wise(i), Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 23.
37. (37) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 22.
38. (33) Carl Long, Toyota, Brakes, 21.
39. (9) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 20.
40. (21) Matt DiBenedetto(i), Toyota, Transmission, 6.