Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, PA — June 27th, 2020
The Pocono Organics 325 kicks off the Cup Series doubleheader at Pocono Raceway this weekend. Providing the weather cooperates, it was raining Saturday morning and there is an 80% chance for more appreciation to fall.
NASCAR already postponed the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race that was scheduled to run prior to the cup event. The Trucks will now run Sunday morning followed by the Xfinity Series Race and the second half of the Cup Series doubleheader.
Race time is 3:30 pm, today on Fox. The 325-mile race consists of 130 laps around the 2.5-mile speedway. Stages for today’s event are 25/52/53 laps. Last year’s winner, Kyle Busch, will start on the 2nd row in 4th position. Aric Almirola sits on the pole with last week’s winner, Ryan Blaney, starting on the front row beside him.
The green flag fell almost an hour late as crews were still drying the track at race time. Almirola drove down into turn one with the lead as Kyle Busch slipped past Blaney for 2nd. Drivers quickly spread out into a single file line, testing the track with light sprinkles appearing on camera lenses.
The competition caution was displayed on lap 13, allowing teams to pit and make adjustments while taking on tires and fuel. However, drivers in the first eight positions stayed on the track. With Almirola and Logano bringing the field back to the restart.
Drivers spread out five wide after taking the green flag, looking to improve positions by timing the flag at the restart. Quinn Houff spun out of the 1st corner heading down the backstretch before a lap could be completed and the yellow came back on.
On the next restart with 5 laps to go in Stage 1, it was Logano who came off the first turn with the lead. A few drivers came to pit road with 3 laps to go in the Stage, intending to stay out at the Stage ending caution to gain track position.
Logano held off Almirola to take the Stage win, 3 Ford Mustangs sat at the top of the standings and held 5 of the top 10 spots after the first 25 laps.
Stage 1 Results
*Ford Mustang Drivers
Logano and Almirola did not pit during the Stage ending caution, holding onto the front row for another restart. With Almirola returning to the lead when the race went back to green.
Pit strategy was all over the board, as the leaders that stayed out finally pitted at laps 45 and 46. Martin Truex Jr. inherited the lead, followed by Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, William Byron, and Chris Buescher.
The caution came out with 13 laps to go in Stage 2, as JJ Yeley shredded a tire and spread debris around the track. Most everyone took the opportunity to come in for 4 fresh tires and a full tank of fuel. Leaving Almirola, Logano, and Blaney back out front when the Stage resumed with 8 laps to go.
The first wreck of the afternoon occurred with six laps to go in the Stage. Erik Jones moved down to avoid the slower car of Kurt Busch. Tyler Reddick ran into Jones, severely damaging both cars. Sending Jones to the garage into a backup car for Sunday’s race.
The race restarted with two laps to go in Stage 2. Almirola held onto the lead and earned his first Stage win of the season, with Logano finishing 2nd. Five Ford Mustangs again finished in the top 10.
Stage 2 Results
|3||19||Martin Truex Jr.|
*Ford Mustang Drivers
The Final Stage
The front of the pack was jumbled up as a number of cars drove into the mix for the top spot. As the race settled down into single-file racing Almirola led with Kevin Harvick 2nd. Followed by Matt DiBenedetto, Truex, and Logano in the top 5.
With 39 laps to go, those on the long run pit strategy began to pit for fuel only. Inside of 40 laps is the window for enough gas to finish the race. Hamlin inherited the lead, followed by Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell, Buescher, and Ryan Preece. All who will have to pit before the end of the race.
After everyone made their stops it was Harvick in the lead. Hamlin, Almirola, Truex, and Christopher Bell making up the top 5. Harvick held on for the win, his first at Pocono in 39 tries. Almirola, who led the most laps(66), finished 3rd. Christopher Bell, the highest finishing rookie came 4th.
Ryan Preece made a late pass to finish in 20th, which will give him the pole position for tomorrow’s second half of the doubleheader as the first 20 finishers are inverted to set the field.
Results of the Pocono Organics 325 at Pocono Raceway
|6||19||Martin Truex Jr.||25.152||130|
|17||47||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||40.578||130|
|24||38||John Hunter Nemechek||-1||129|