Kyle Busch fends off Suarez for Pocono win

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Kyle Busch fends off Suarez for Pocono win
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Jul 29, 2018, 10:18 PM

It didn’t take long for Kyle Busch to even the score with Kevin Harvick.

Busch outdueled his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez on a restart in overtime and hung on to win Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway.

The win is Busch six of the season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series, tying the series lead held by Kevin Harvick, who just won his sixth race a week ago.

It’s also the 49th career victory for Busch.

 

"Suarez, man. I can't say enough about my teammate. He was probably the third-best car. Harvick was the best car and we were second-best car and I think Suarez was the third-best car. He gave us a run for our money there on that last restart," Busch said.

"The last restart I spun my tires a little bit too much and he got a really good run. I think that gave Jones an opportunity to make it three-wide going into (Turn) 1. They got into racing (each other) and I kind of got away.

"Glad to get another win for the Rowdy Nation fans here at Pocono. We swept the weekend."

Told he had tied Tony Stewart with 49 career wins, Busch said, "That's awesome. You keep reaching up the ladder and you keep reaching more milestone drivers. Tony Stewart is one of the all-time best and one of the drivers I was a fan of growing up as well. It's awesome to tie him."

Suarez ended up a career-best second, Alex Bowman was third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Jones ended up fifth.

Rounding out the Top 10 were William Byron, Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin.

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, Byron took over the race lead as one of several drivers who elected to stay out. On the restart on Lap 106 of the scheduled 160, he was followed by Kyle Busch and Suarez.

Ty Dillon, David Ragan and Kasey Kahne were all penalized for speeding on pit road while making their respective stops during the break.

Byron held serve on the restart as Jones moved up into the runner-up position and Kyle Busch took over third.

On Lap 112, Kyle Busch got inside of Byron and took the lead for the first time in the race. About the same time, Kurt Busch dove down pit road with a left-front flat tire.

Suarez got around Byron on Lap 114 to move into the runner-up position as Jones and Elliott followed to take over third and fourth, respectively.

On Lap 121, Brad Keselowski appeared to cut a tire and slammed the Turn 2 wall to bring out a caution.

“I blew a rear tire entering the corner and wrecked,” Keselowski said over his radio. “Spun out before I even got in the corner. I lost the decklid, pretty much done here.”

Kyle Busch was the first off pit road and led the way on the restart on Lap 125 followed by Suarez, Kahne, Jones and Elliott.

Bowyer was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart at the rear of the field. Harvick and Almirola made contact on pit road, forcing Harvick to make another pit stop for repairs.

Right after the restart, the race returned to caution as Landon Cassill No. 00 appeared to lose an engine and oil was reported from Keselowski’s car in Turn 1. Keselowski then took his No. 2 Ford to the garage.

The race returned to green again with 28 laps to go with Kyle Busch leading the way followed by Suarez and Elliott. Harvick restarted in 27th.

With 25 laps remaining, Kyle Busch held a slight advantage over Suarez with Elliott not far behind in third. Harvick had made his way up to 20th.

Joey Logano was forced to pit on Lap 139 with a flat tire and after having slapped the wall.

With 15 laps left, Kyle Busch had moved out to a 1.8-second lead over Suarez. With 14 remaining, Harvick had moved back into the top 10.

Late-race cautions

On Lap 154, Darrell Wallace Jr. lost his brakes on the frontstretch, drove through the grass to scrub speed and still slammed the Turn 1 wall hard to bring out a caution and bunch the field. A red flag was displayed to clean the track of debris.

“No brakes… oh (expletive),” Wallace said over his radio just before the hit.

Wallace gingerly got out of his car, sat down beside it for a few minutes before walking gingerly into the ambulance.

When the race returned to green with three laps left, Kyle Busch led the way, followed by Suarez and Elliott. Harvick was up to eighth.

With just over one lap to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Almirola both spun to bring out yet another caution and send the race into overtime. Harvick had made his way up to sixth.

Race results:

Pos.#DriverManufacturerGapLaps LedPoints
1 18 united_states Kyle Busch  Toyota 164 laps 52 47
2 19 mexico Daniel Suarez  Toyota 1.788 29 41
3 88 united_states Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 2.267   43
4 4 united_states Kevin Harvick  Ford 2.386 30 52
5 20 united_states Erik Jones  Toyota 3.144 11 32
6 24 united_states William Byron  Chevrolet 3.245 10 32
7 9 united_states Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 3.791 14 49
8 31 united_states Ryan Newman  Chevrolet 3.790   29
9 41 united_states Kurt Busch  Ford 3.925 11 31
10 11 united_states Denny Hamlin  Toyota 4.076 5 35
11 14 united_states Clint Bowyer  Ford 4.341   39
12 12 united_states Ryan Blaney  Ford 4.718   28
13 3 united_states Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 5.139   24
14 47 united_states A.J. Allmendinger  Chevrolet 5.297   23
15 78 united_states Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 5.517   22
16 34 united_states Michael McDowell  Ford 5.923   21
17 48 united_states Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 5.996   25
18 6 united_states Matt Kenseth  Ford 6.272   19
19 38 united_states David Ragan  Ford 6.412   18
20 1 united_states Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 6.526 1 20
21 21 united_states Paul Menard  Ford 6.731   16
22 17 united_states Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Ford 7.009   15
23 42 united_states Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 7.064   20
24 13 united_states Ty Dillon  Chevrolet 7.177   13
25 10 united_states Aric Almirola  Ford 7.281   12
26 22 united_states Joey Logano  Ford 7.683   11
27 32 united_states Matt DiBenedetto  Ford 7.683   10
28 23 united_states J.J. Yeley  Toyota 7.887    
29 96 united_states Jeffrey Earnhardt  Toyota 1 lap   8
30 95 united_states Kasey Kahne  Chevrolet 2 laps   7
31 99 united_states Kyle Weatherman  Chevrolet 3 laps   6
32 7 united_states Reed Sorenson  Chevrolet 3 laps   5
33 43 united_states Darrell Wallace Jr.  Chevrolet 11 laps   4
34 00 united_states Landon Cassill  Chevrolet 16 laps   3
35 15 united_states Ross Chastain  Chevrolet 18 laps    
36 66 united_states Timmy Hill  Toyota 22 laps    
37 37 united_states Chris Buescher  Chevrolet 41 laps   1
38 2 united_states Brad Keselowski  Ford 43 laps 1 9
39 72 united_states Corey Lajoie  Chevrolet 69 laps   1
40 51 united_states B.J. McLeod  Chevrolet 87 laps    
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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Pocono II
Location Pocono Raceway
Drivers Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Race report