How the Pocono 400, the 14th race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, played out Sunday at Pocono Raceway:
WINNER: Kyle Busch dominated the final stage to win for the fourth time this season. Busch held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones on a restart with nine laps remaining then outdueled Brad Keselowski in the closing laps to win by 2.24 seconds.
Busch, who started second, bypassed stage points in the first two segments on pit-stop strategy plays to grab the lead early in the final stage and hold it until the end.
Busch credited his No. 18 crew with the win.
"Overall my guys on pit road were awesome. We got some spots there. Track position — (crew chief) Adam Stevens and some of our race calls getting us further up towards the front," he said. "It’s fun to be able to come down pit road and know you’re going to pick up spots and then to also have good race cars on the race track.
Admire the view.
Let 'em know. ?☝️@KyleBusch | @JoeGibbsRacingpic.twitter.com/ukme8pp53k
Busch won at Pocono for the third time in four races while recording his 55th career Cup Series victory to tie Rusty Wallace for ninth on the all-time list.
"It's cool to get a win, cool to get a win at Pocono again with Rowdy Nation out there supporting us."
Keselowski finished second and Jones third. Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Daniel Suarez, Wiliam Byron and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.
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Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. (Photo: Matthew OHaren, USA TODAY Sports)
HARD HIT: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed into the wall with 14 laps remaining to bring out the caution and bring the field back together after it got strung out during green flag pit stops. Stenhouse blew a tire in the tunnel turn (Turn 2), causing heavy damage to his No. 17 Ford. He drove the car straight to the garage, ending his day.
That's a lotta damage. Ricky is done early. pic.twitter.com/20qZSU1dZf
STAGE 2: Kyle Larson won his second segment of the day, staying out on the track after most other cars hit pit road under green in the closing laps of the stage. Logano finished second, Byron third, Keselowski fourth and Ryan Newman fifth. Kurt Busch, Bubba Wallace, Chris Buescher, Daniel Hemric and Suarez rounded out the top 10.
ENGINE EXPIRES: Martin Truex Jr. brought his car to pit to road with nine laps remaining in the second segment and then saw his engine blow up while his Joe Gibbs Racing crew was changing his tires. The No. 19 Toyota was then pushed to the garage, ending the day for Truex, who won this race one year ago.
MTJ is done for the day after an engine failure pic.twitter.com/nvarrzcpzx
"I don’t know. We just lost an engine there – dropped a cylinder down the backstretch and figured I might as well pit," Truex said. "I thought maybe it was a possibility we were out of gas, but it started smoking out of the pipes and shut off. Tough day."
SPIN ME 'ROUND: Matt DiBenedetto, racing in the middle of the pack, spun on lap 57 bringing out the caution moments after Kyle Busch took the lead for the first time. Following the restart, Matt Tift spun on lap 61 to bring out the fifth caution of the day.
STAGE 1: Larson led the final 29 laps of the opening segment to earn his second stage win of the year and first since Stage 1 at Atlanta — the second race of the year. Byron, who led the first 23 laps of the race, finished second, Keselowski third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Aric Almirola fifth. Ryan Blaney, Suarez, Logano, Truex and Paul Menard rounded out the top 10.
WALL BANGER: Austin Dillon went sailing into the Turn 3 wall after fighting for position with Jimmie Johnson and Menard on lap 30. Dillon's crash brought out the second caution of the race following the competition caution on lap 20. Dillon was able to bring his car to pit road, but the damage on his No. 3 Chevrolet was too severe for him to continue racing. He finished last.
Caution! Austin Dillon goes around and into the wall pic.twitter.com/wqOgTDykM6
"It's a disappointing," Dillon said of his early elimination. "We had a pretty decent car and the 21 (Menard) hit us. You can see everyone is piled up in there, and he drove in too deep in the corner, hit me in the back and took me out of the race."
ON THE POLE: Byron grabbed the top qualifying spot for the second week in a row and the third time this season after taking the pole at the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600.
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