Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA — June 2, 2019
William Byron(24) won his 2nd pole in a row, last week for the Coca-Cola 600, and this week for the Pocono 400 in the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. Last week’s race winner, Martin Truex Jr.(19), won the spring race at Pocono last year. Three-time Cup winner this year, Kyle Busch(18), starts on the front row next to Byron today. Byron will have his hands full right from the start today.
Four Hundred miles around the “Tricky Triangle” consists of 160 laps. Stages are 50/50/60 lap segments. Fans will be looking for tight racing given the changes to the 2019 performance package the cars are running.
Byron jumped out to a one-second lead right from the drop of the green flag. Michigan’s Erik Jones(20) passed Kyle Busch for 2nd. Clint Bowyer(14) ran 4th and Denny Hamlin(11) 5th.
NASCAR scheduled a competition caution for 20 laps in due to the fact rain had washed the track clean. Byron led the field into the pits but Kyle Larson(42) was first to exit and he inherited the lead.
On the restart, after the competition caution, Larson and Brad Keselowski(2) battled for the top spot with Larson nosing in front and Keselowski right on his bumper. Daniel Suarez(41), Byron, and Joey Logano(22) rounded out the top 5.
On Lap 30, Austin Dillon(3) and Paul Menard(21) tangled over the tunnel turn, with Dillon contacting the wall. The damage to his car retired Dillon for the day.
Larson held on to take the Stage win with Byron finishing 2nd.
Stage 1 Results
|19||Martin Truex Jr.||2|
* Ford Mustang Drivers
Keselowski and Truex both stayed out during the Stage ending caution, Larson restarted in 11th. As the two cars on the front row ran side-by-side, Kyle Busch went three-wide to take over the top spot.
With the exception of a spin by Matt DiBenedetto(95) and a tire going down on Corey LaJoie’s(32) car causing him to scrape the wall. Kyle Busch just kept building on his lead. It had grown to seven seconds when he pitted with six laps to go in the Stage.
The engine on Truex’s car expired just before the end of the Stage sending him to the garage and out of the race.
Larson on a slightly different pit strategy stayed out as the leaders pitted and took the green and white checkered to win Stage 2.
Stage 2 Results
* Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
Kyle Busch, back out front after the Stage ending caution, resumed the lead and began building a cushion on most of the field. Only Kevin Harvick(4) could remain within touch of the leader.
One final pit stop was required to make it to the end of the 400 miles. With 20 laps to go, pit stops had cycled through and Kyle Busch was back in the lead with Erik Jones in 2nd, just over three seconds behind.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(17) brought out the caution with 14 laps to go setting up a final dash to the finish.
While positions behind the leader changed Kyle Busch pulled away for the win.
It was the 4th win of the season for Busch and the 55th of his Cup career, tying him with Rusty Wallace for 9th on the premier series all-time win list.
Next week it’s the first of two stops in the Irish Hills of Michigan. The Lasco Press will be live at Michigan International Speedway for the race weekend. Tickets remain for the FireKeepers Casino 400 next Sunday. Come out and visit us at the track, see some great racing, and join in all the fun.
Results of the Pocono 400 from Pocono Raceway
|32||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||-14||146|
|35||19||Martin Truex Jr.||-69||91|
Points / Playoff Standings
|7||Martin Truex Jr.||452||3|
|Playoff Cut Line|
|20||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||308||0|
*Ford Mustang Drivers