Ford Performance – Pocono Raceway Advance

Pocono Raceway has been a fixture on the NASCAR schedule since 1974 and this weekend it will host all three of NASCAR’s top touring series, including a doubleheader on Saturday.  That’s when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers will compete with the NASCAR Cup Series stars closing the weekend activity on Sunday.

 

Ryan Blaney: “I’ve enjoyed it. Obviously, I got my first win there a while back, so it’s always special when you go back to the places where you get your first wins. My family’s not too far from there – where my dad grew up, so there are just a lot of special memories. I made my first quarter-midget start at the dirt track outside of the racetrack. There are a lot of cool things about that, so I look forward to going there. The crowd is usually really great, too. It’s always nice to go back to tracks where you have good memories.”

 

BLANEY GETS FIRST CUP VICTORY

Ryan Blaney earned his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2017 at Pocono Raceway, giving the Wood Brothers their 99th all-time series win.  Blaney held off Kevin Harvick over the final seven laps to win the Pocono 400 after overcoming a loose wheel only 19 laps into the event.  He found himself in position to win after the caution came out with 19 laps to go.  Kyle Busch opted to stay out while all of the other contenders behind him pitted, including Blaney who got four fresh tires and restarted fourth.  A major battle between Busch and Blaney resulted, but the newer tires proved to be too much as Blaney eventually got by with nine laps to go.  He couldn’t breathe easily, however, as Harvick started to reel him in, but could never pull alongside to challenge.

 
 

BUESCHER JOINS FIRST-TIME WINNERS CLUB AT POCONO

Chris Buescher is another Ford driver who posted his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Pocono when he won the rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 in 2016.  Buescher led the final 12 laps and qualified for the playoffs as the scheduled 160-lap race was called after 138 circuits.  It represented the second series win and first playoff qualification for Front Row Motorsports, which Buescher drove for in 2016 after the organization entered into an alliance with what was then Roush Fenway Racing.

 
 

ELLIOTT SWEEPS IN 1985

Ford reached victory lane at Pocono Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time on June 9, 1985 when Bill Elliott beat Harry Gant to win the Van Scoy Diamond Mine 500. Elliott was able to pass Gant with 11 laps remaining, shortly after a restart, to claim Ford’s first win at the facility. Elliott, who also started on the pole, was helped by four cautions over the final 25 laps and won for the sixth time as he led 32 of the 200 circuits. It marked the front end of what would eventually be a season sweep for Elliott at Pocono as he won a few weeks later on July 21.

 

KULWICKI’S FINAL WIN

When Alan Kulwicki won the Champion Spark Plug 500 on June 14, 1992 it marked the final victory of his NASCAR Hall of Fame career. Kulwicki, who was voted into the Hall in 2019, passed Bill Elliott with 11 laps remaining to cap a day that saw 15 cars drop out before the checkered flag flew, including 11 engine failures. In a precursor to what happened a few months later at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kulwicki and Elliott battled down the stretch as they exchanged the lead multiple times over the final 25 laps. Kulwicki passed Elliott for the top spot on lap 181, but traffic slowed him down to the point that five laps later the two swapped positions. Mark Martin made it a three-way battle, but Kulwicki ultimately prevailed as he got by both drivers on lap 190 and never looked back. Kulwicki, who won five series races overall, went on to win the championship later that year over fellow Ford drivers Elliott and Davey Allison.

 
 

CUSTER COMPLETES LAST LAP PASS IN 2019

While Cole Custer’s personal-best of 11 consecutive Top-10 performances came to a halt at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last week, the results within that streak demonstrated Custer’s impressive mid-season momentum into the playoffs. Custer has compiled two victories, three poles and eight top-five performances since April, and he contested fender-to-fender for the win in the final laps at New Hampshire. Custer has seen success in the final laps, especially in 2019 at Pocono when he passed Tyler Reddick for the lead going into Turn 3 and won in overtime.

 

BLANEY MULTI-CLASS WINNER

As previously mentioned, Ryan Blaney earned his first Cup Series victory in 2017 at Pocono. He is also the only Ford driver to win in multiple classes at Pocono, as he earned his second career Truck Series victory there in 2013. Blaney overtook the field during a chaotic restart going into Turn 1 with two laps remaining and held on to take the checkered flag.

 

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