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DAVISON: Pocono Cup #1 – Larson’s tire failure gives Bowman the win

Long Pond, PA, June 26/21: (by John Davison): After an outstanding string of victories, Kyle Larson had his luck change with a flat left front tire on the last lap of the Pocono Organic 325, giving the win to Alex Bowman. This win extended the Hendrick Motorsports string to six of the last NASCAR Cup races.

Racing in the first race of a double-header weekend, Larson started on the pole but William Byron soon passed him for the lead. Kyle Busch led the most laps, only 30, of the 130 laps run, joined by eight other drivers at various time but only Joey Logano came close, with 18 laps led. Larson and Alex Bowman both headed the field for 16 laps, with Bowman leading the last third of a lap for the win after Larson's tire failed in the Tunnel Turn.

Bowman had taken the lead on the final restart on lap 112 of the 130-lap race with Larson in close pursuit. Larson had made several attempts to get past his teammate but it wasn’t until lap 127 that he was able to take the lead. And then he started to pull away, looking like he was certain to win this race and extend his string of wins. Then, on the final lap with two corners to go, his right-front tire failed and he slammed into the wall and his run for the win was over.

Bowman was on the radio with his crew, apologizing for not winning: "Yeah, it was like a hundred feet. I keyed up. I'm like, I'm sorry. He's blown a tire," he laughed, adding: "I don't really know what to think. This is the strangest win I've ever been a part of. I thought I was running second, which was still going to be a good day for us with how we struggled throughout the course of the day. Then he blows a tire, we win; can't do a burnout because I have to race the car tomorrow. I typically stand on the roof of the car; can't do that because I got to race the car tomorrow. I typically drink all the beers; can't do all that because I got to race a car tomorrow."

Larson's car ended the day behind a wrecker, a backup car will be required to start at the back of the field on Sunday. Larson reported: "I felt something like right in the middle of the tunnel. Wasn't quite sure what it was yet. It finally kind of shredded halfway through the short chute there."

Runner-up Kyle Busch said his Toyota needed "just more front turn. Our cars kind of die tight in traffic, and just wasn't able to turn as well as I needed too late in the going in order to get a run on them…. It was fast early on. We made minimal changes to it all day long, so when you are well-balanced, and your car is good – that's as much as we have for them right now. Last week we saw that we were off just a little bit, and we got our ass kicked. We certainly have some work forward. We will get back after them tomorrow."

The next NASCAR cup race was the scheduled second-half of the Pocono double-header to be run the next day, Sunday, June 27th.

• Click HERE for the Race Results

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