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MENCS: Blaney notches first career Cup win at Pocono

(MRN)  Twenty-three-year old Ryan Blaney outdueled a pair of NASCAR champions on Sunday and carried the famed Wood Brothers back to Victory Lane with a stirring win at Pocono Raceway. Blaney stormed past race leader – and 2015 Cup Series champ Kyle Busch – ten laps from the finish and kept his Number-21 Ford in front the rest of the way, holding off Kevin Harvick down the stretch. Blaney’s margin of victory over the 2014 series champion was thirteen one-hundredths of a second. Busch started from the pole, won the first stage and led a race-high one hundred laps but faded to ninth place at the checkered flag. Blaney’s late-race charge to victory came to a head as he pulled up on Busch’s rear bumper. The race leader threw a block and Blaney darted to the inside to make the pass. He held his ground as Busch tried to squeeze him onto the track apron and then pulled away to claim his first career win in his sixty-eighth start. For Wood Brothers Racing, which has been in the sport for more than sixty-five years, Sunday’s victory was its first since Trevor Bayne’s upset win in the 2011 Daytona 500.

Rookie Erik Jones took third place with Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski completing the top five.

The race was red-flagged for clean-up late in the second stage after Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray crashed hard, victims of brake failure. Neither driver was injured. Johnson finished thirty-sixth, McMurray thirty-seventh.

The race included thirteen lead changes among nine drivers.  There were four cautions for eighteen laps.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Pocono 400

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Ryan Blaney (4) 10

2. Kevin Harvick (12) —

3. Erik Jones (R) (15) 20

4. Kurt Busch (5) —

5. Brad Keselowski (6) 11

6. Martin Truex Jr. (2) 5

7. Kyle Larson (7) 9

8. Chase Elliott (25) —

9. Kyle Busch (Pole) 100

10. Matt Kenseth (3) —

Unofficial points standings after 14 races

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Martin Truex Jr. (2) 584 —-

2. Kyle Larson (1) 583 -1

3. Kevin Harvick 480 -104

4. Kyle Busch 463 -121

5. Brad Keselowski (2) 454 -130

6. Chase Elliott 438 -146

7. Jimmie Johnson (3) 421 -163

8. Jamie McMurray 418 -166

9. Denny Hamlin 386 -198

10. Clint Bowyer 369 -215

11. Joey Logano (1) 362 -222

12. Ryan Blaney (1) 360 -224

13. Matt Kenseth 359 -225

14. Kurt Busch (1) 331 -253

15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1) 325 -259

16. Ryan Newman (1) 322 -262

Erik Jones (R) 322 -262

18. Trevor Bayne 303 -281

19. Daniel Suarez (R) 300 -284

20. Austin Dillon (1) 287 -297

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH’s News & Sports Director since 2000.
In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball.
Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA.
Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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