At Pocono Raceway
Long Pond, Pa.
Lap length: 2.5 miles
(Starting position in parentheses)
1. (9) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 160 laps.
2. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 160.
3. (1) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 160.
4. (13) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 160.
5. (2) Joey Logano, Ford, 160.
6. (11) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 160.
7. (3) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 160.
8. (5) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 160.
9. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 160.
10. (14) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 160.
11. (21) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 160.
12. (22) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 160.
13. (24) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 160.
14. (10) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 160.
15. (25) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, 160.
16. (32) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 160.
17. (26) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 160.
18. (23) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 160.
19. (17) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 160.
20. (16) Aric Almirola, Ford, 160.
21. (28) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 160.
22. (35) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 160.
23. (34) David Ragan, Toyota, 160.
24. (29) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 160.
25. (18) Chris Buescher, Ford, 159.
26. (15) Greg Biffle, Ford, 159.
27. (38) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 159.
28. (40) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 159.
29. (39) Jeb Burton, Ford, 158.
30. (37) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, rear gear, 155.
31. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 150.
32. (33) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 145.
33. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 135.
34. (6) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 131.
35. (7) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, accident, 125.
36. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, 121.
37. (19) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, accident, 117.
38. (36) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, accident, 102.
39. (30) Brian Scott, Ford, 81.
40. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, accident, 57.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 125.49 mph.
Time of Race: 3 hours, 11 minutes, 15 seconds.
Margin of Victory: 1.126 seconds.
Caution Flags: 10 for 40 laps.
Lead Changes: 14 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; J. Logano 1-17; K. Larson 18-25; M. Kenseth 26-53; K. Harvick 54-62; M. Kenseth 63-65; C. Elliott 66-86; Kyle Busch 87-89; C. Elliott 90-118; A. Allmendinger 119-120; T. Dillon 121-123; D. Earnhardt Jr 124-126; C. Elliott 127; D. Earnhardt Jr 128; Kurt Busch 129-160.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): C. Elliott 3 times for 51 laps; Kurt Busch 1 time for 32 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 31 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 17 laps; K. Harvick 1 time for 9 laps; K. Larson 1 time for 8 laps; D. Earnhardt Jr 2 times for 4 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 3 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 3 laps; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 2 laps.
Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick, 490; Kurt Busch, 465; B. Keselowski, 442; C. Edwards, 437; Kyle Busch, 416; J. Johnson, 415; C. Elliott, 413; J. Logano, 410; M. Truex Jr, 403; M. Kenseth, 382; D. Earnhardt Jr, 381; D. Hamlin, 372; A. Dillon, 348; J. McMurray, 342; Blaney, 340; R. Newman, 338.
Kurt Busch stretched his fuel to the checkered flag and won the Sprint Cup race Monday at Pocono Raceway.
Busch was urged by his team to save fuel and go hard for the win on the final lap. The 2004 champion did all he could to conserve fuel in the No. 41 Chevrolet and even shut off the engine headed into the turns.
Told he was two laps shy, Busch not only had enough fuel left to win his first race of the season but enough for victory burnouts and a celebratory lap around the track.
“The way the fuel mileage played out, I didn’t know if we’d have enough,” Busch said. “This is a wonderful win for us. We’d been so close all year.”
Busch won with interim crew chief John Klausmeier, the lead engineer, calling the shots as Tony Gibson served a one-race suspension.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second, and Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano rounded out the top five in a race postponed one day because of rain.
Elliott led 51 laps and seemed poised for most of the race to earn his first career win. The Hendrick Motorsports rookie who replaced Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Chevy stumbled off late restarts that forced him to fall short at the end.
“I wish I was more patient behind Dale,” Elliott said.
Busch had quietly been having a solid season for Stewart-Haas Racing, posting four top-five finishes and 11 top 10s in 13 starts entering the race. He had reeled off seven straight top 10s — he graded his season an A-minus — but didn’t have the win he needed to earn a sport in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Busch led 32 laps in winning his 28th career Cup race. He became the ninth driver to win a race this season.
Without a caution to help conserve fuel, he nursed what was left in the tank for the last 30-plus laps of green flag racing to snap a 34-race losing skid.
“I was like, whoa, how many laps shy are we? They said two,” he said. “These are really long straightaways at Pocono and you have to manage saving fuel as well as maintaining lap time. So many thoughts can go through your head, but I just stuck with the checklist.”
Other notable events from Monday’s race, which was the first Monday race at Pocono since 2009 and the first postponed Cup race of the season:
Tony Stewart’s race ended with 67 laps left when he got loose, came up the track and connected with teammate Danica Patrick. Stewart, who missed the first eight races of the season, finished 34th and remained a longshot at clinching a spot in the top 30 in the points race to qualify for the Chase. Patrick’s crew made repairs on pit road and she finished 32nd.
PIT STOP MESS
Keselowski, the pole sitter, ran into early trouble when he was called back to the pits because of unapproved body modifications on his No. 2 Ford. One of his crew members threw a shoulder block into a side panel, which caused a dent that could have given Keselowski an advantage. Crew members argued with pit officials, to no avail.
“It was two NASCAR penalties and I’m not sure I really know what happened there,” he said. “The team guys can probably give you a better answer, but we fought back really well. At the end I think we were capable of winning the race with a really fast car, even with the right side door torn up.”
REMEMBERING THE GREATEST
A moment of silence was held for boxing great Muhammad Ali, who died Friday night at an Arizona hospital. “He could talk the game and back it up,” retired champion Jeff Gordon said on the TV broadcast.
IndyCar star Marco Andretti, a nearby Nazareth, Pennsylvania native, visited the track and sat in Tony Stewart’s pit box. Sage Karam, a fellow IndyCar driver and Nazareth native, visited the track this weekend and expressed interest in trying the Truck Series race in August.
Kurt Busch is the defending race winner at Michigan International Speedway.