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MENCS: Busch snaps yearlong winless streak with triumph at Pocono

(MRN) Kyle Busch ended his year-long winless streak in dominating fashion Sunday at Pocono Raceway – starting from the pole, winning Stage-1 and leading a race-high seventy-four laps in claiming his thirty-ninth career victory. Busch passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin for his final lead seventeen laps from the finish and kept the Number-18 Toyota in front the rest of the way to notch his first Cup Series win since the 2016 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, a thirty-six-race dry spell. It’s also Busch’s first victory at Pocono behind the wheel of a Cup Series race car, although he’s gone to Victory Lane in the Camping World Truck Series and, in fact, Sunday’s win gave him a weekend sweep of sorts at “The Tricky Triangle.” Busch owns the Toyota that Christopher Bell drove to victory in Saturday’s Truck Series race.

His margin of victory Sunday was a whopping six seconds over runner-up Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex Junior grabbed third place with Hamlin and Brad Keselowski completing the top five. Clint Bowyer won the second stage and finished sixth overall. Daniel Suarez was the highest-finishing rookie, in seventh place, and teammate Matt Kenseth ended the day in ninth place – putting all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers inside the top ten.

Ryan Blaney was seeking a season sweep at Pocono after winning in June but failed to lead a lap yesterday and finished thirtieth, two laps behind Busch at the checkered flag.

Busch is the first Cup Series pole sitter to win at Pocono since Jimmie Johnson in 2013.

Sunday’s race included sixteen lead changes among nine drivers.

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Top 10 Finishers in the Overton’s 400

DRIVER STARTING POSITION LAPS LED

1. Kyle Busch (Pole) 74

2. Kevin Harvick (6) —

3. Martin Truex Jr. (2) 31

4. Denny Hamlin (4) 18

5. Brad Keselowski (11) 6

6. Clint Bowyer (7) 5

7. Daniel Suarez (R) (8) —

8. Erik Jones (R) (9) 4

9. Matt Kenseth (15) 9

10. Chase Elliott (13) —

RACE NOTES …

Kyle Busch’s victory on Sunday at Pocono is the one hundredth Cup Series win for Toyota, five of which have come on the two-point-five-mile triangle-shaped track in northeastern Pennsylvania. The manufacturer dominated Sunday’s race with six entries in the top ten … Busch swept both Monster Energy Series poles at Pocono this season, the first driver to do so since Denny Hamlin doubled up in 2006. He now leads all active drivers with four poles there, one more than Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson … Team owner Joe Gibbs has eleven Cup Series wins at Pocono – six behind Rick Hendrick, who tops the track’s all-time list.

NASCAR CUP SERIES Unofficial Point Standings After 21 Races

DRIVER POINTS BEHIND LEADER

1. Martin Truex Jr. (3) 823 —-

2. Kyle Larson (2) 738 -85

3. Kevin Harvick (1) 726 -97

4. Kyle Busch (1) 723 -100

5. Brad Keselowski (2) 649 -174

Denny Hamlin (1) 649 -174

7. Chase Elliott 616 -207

8. Jamie McMurray 615 -208

9. Matt Kenseth 594 -229

10. Clint Bowyer 577 -246

11. Jimmie Johnson (3) 566 -257

12. Ryan Blaney (1) 529 -294

13. Joey Logano (1) 525 -298

14. Kurt Busch (1) 494 -329

15. Ryan Newman (1) 491 -332

16. Erik Jones (R) 469 -354

17. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2) 468 -355

18. Daniel Suarez (R) 464 -359

19. Kasey Kahne (1) 414 -409

20. Trevor Bayne 406 -417

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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