Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Pocono Raceway for the 55th time in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
The No. 18 Camry was not dominate throughout the race, but he was there when it mattered the most. With nine laps to go on the final restart, Busch ran away with the lead over Brad Keselowski, teammate Erik Jones, Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer.
Pit strategy played a big factor at the Tricky Triangle, as teams had to factor in fuel mileage and possible tire wear. Many drivers opted to stay on the track until the caution flag waved to gain valuable playoff points, but some elected to pit during green flag action. The No. 18 crew elected to pit before the end of each stage to give Kyle Busch a better restart position when the green flag waved.
"Overall my guys on pit road were awesome. It's cool to get a win at Pocono again," said Busch after earning his fourth win of the 2019 season.
Though he was not the dominate car in the first two stages, Busch led 79 of the 160 laps earning him his third Pocono win and tying NASCAR Hall of Famer, Rusty Wallace for the series all-time win list.
Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, Chase Elliott and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top five in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back in action for the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 9 at 2:00 PM EST.
BRISTOL, Tenn.— For the second time in his career, Kyle Busch will sweep the August race weekend Bristol Motor Speedway.
“Man, it’s just great to have a guy like that. This M&M’s Caramel Camry was awesome tonight. Adam Stevens and these guys they never quit working on it. Every single pit stop we kept working on it, kept adjusting on it, so I can’t say enough about his Toyota Camry, everybody at TRD – want to thank Interstate Batteries, NOS Energy Drink, Cessna, DVX Sunglasses and of course the fans,” said Busch. “This is for Rowdy Nation. Rowdy Nation’s really what fuels us to get ‘em out, to get around and get along and all the noise is good noise, that’s how I feel about it. These M&M’s Caramels are going to be celebrating tonight.”
This is Ky. Busch’s second victory of 2017. This is his 14th top-10 finish of the season. This is his sixth career victory at Bristol.
After running up front all night and a late race charge to battle Ky. Busch, Erik Jones finished second.
“It’s a bummer, I mean you can’t lie. I thought we had a really good day and we fought hard all day. We had our ups and downs and led a lot of laps and didn’t have quite enough at the end,” said Jones. “Kyle (Busch) is really good here. But we had a good 5-Hour Energy Camry. Just needed a little more at the end. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t have it. I did what I could, but it just wasn’t quite enough.”
Being the silent contender most of the night in a satisfying yet disappoint finish, Denny Hamlin finished third.
“Half and half. Definitely with the track position, we definitely could have held those guys off. We caught them a little bit in that last run, but I restarted on the bottom so many times that it’s one of those weekends where I would love that cone rule where you can pick what lane you want to go in on restarts. I’d be willing to start 12th on the outside versus third on the inside. It’s just I got killed on restarts all day, but we did a really good job of bouncing back and good finish,” said Hamlin.
Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
There were 21 lead changes six different drivers. Jones led the most laps at 260. The caution flag flew eight times for 53 laps. The average speed of the race was 95.970 mph. Ky. Busch and Kenseth won the first two stages. The time of race was two hours, 46 minutes, and 37 seconds.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is an off weekend before the Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR at Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles Southern 500.
Following an altercation on pit road, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has suspended Lee Cunningham and Chris Taylor, pit crew members on Martin Truex Jr.'s car.
The altercation took place after Truex and Kyle Busch wrecked each other coming off the second turn at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Lap 112.
NASCAR on FOX was the first to report the incident:
Barney Visser, Furntiture Row Racing (FRR) owner, released a statement following the announcement:
"Our No. 78 pit crew is hired, trained and managed by Joe Gibbs Racing. They are one of the best pit crews on the circuit and have kept us up front all season. We admire the talent and dedication of our pit crew and support all of the decisions and actions taken by Joe Gibbs Racing."
Kip Wolfmeier and John Royer will take their respective positions during the suspensions of Cunningham and Taylor.
FRR and JGR have a technical alliance. Both teams share technical information, pit crews, and car chassis.
INDIANAPOLIS— After a wild and crazy Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, was made available to the media to discuss the final moments of the event and other pressing issues.
As darkness loomed over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400 went into double overtime. As sunset approached, the second attempt at NASCAR Overtime ended the event.
The problem for many was that the cars were wrecking well before the overtime line before NASCAR threw the caution flag. Ultimately NASCAR threw the caution flag after race winner, Kasey Kahne crossed the overtime line.
“What we have always said and been consistent, as much as I talked about it, we are going to make every attempt to finish the race under green. To do that, you have to see what happens with an incident,” said O’Donnell. “In this case, we did that. Once we decided to throw the caution when we wanted to dispatch equipment, we also knew there was oil on the race track, and threw the caution. Ultimately, that was the end of the race.”
When asked if darkness played a factor into the decision, O’Donnell stated, “It didn’t, but we would not have been able to restart that race. There was oil down. It would have been another red flag. I think the last red flags were 15 to 20 minutes with oil. We were up against it as well.”
O’Donnell clarified that when the leader crosses the overtime line and the caution falls, that the race was official.
As NASCAR finished close to darkness, O’Donell stated that they have not discussed the start times of the event.
During the final red flag period of the race, NASCAR parked Landon Cassill of Front Row Motorsports for driving under the red flag. Cassill’s spotter did not hear the call from the NASCAR official that the red flag has been displayed. O’Donnell was unsure of what the specific reason was behind the call.
“We checked with the spotters. We made sure the sight lines were still good. Obviously, if you continued to have cautions and red flags, that would have been a problem, but we wanted to make every attempt to go back green. The cleanup did a great job to get us back going,” said O’Donnell about the looming darkness.
NASCAR is expected to show photo proof that the leaders were in fact across the overtime line at the time of caution.
Don’t like the overtime line rule? O’Donnell mentioned that the sanctioning body is in discussions about potentially moving the overtime line to the start/finish line in the future.
INDIANAPOLIS— In his final voyage to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400, the day for Dale Earnhardt Jr finished on a sad note. Earnhardt Jr was sidelined only 76 laps into the 160 lap event.
The day ended prematurely after damage concurred to the radiator. Earnhardt made contact to the rear of Trevor Bayne. Shortly after contact, smoke billowed from the front of the Earnhardt’s damages car. Earnhardt took the car straight to the garage.
Earlier in the race, Earnhardt had contact with Brad Keselowski. At that impact, the bumper bar was knocked out of the car resulting in no protection for the radiator.
“We had a great car and I was having a lot of fun. The car was fast. We had a top 10 car for sure. It’s kind of frustrating because I was really enjoying being out there,” said Earnhardt. “Hopefully our luck’s going to turnaround. It’s been pretty tough and this is a difficult one to put up with.”
Earnhardt’s accident in the Brickyard 400 came when the race was restarting.
“You’ve got to push hard and that got us in a little bit of trouble there when they all started checking up on the outside. I was just trying real hard to get as much as we could on restart, and we got bit,” said Earnhardt.
Earnhardt’s not the only Hendrick driver to have retired from the event. Chase Elliott retired from the event earlier on due to engine issues. Earnhardt will be credited with a 36th place finish.